As the world continues to recover from the Coronavirus, we're all finding ourselves in unfamiliar territory given the subsequent lockdown that is keeping us off of stages and confined to our homes. Luckily, there's comfort in the fact that we're all in this together, and that there are still many outlets for us musicians to keep us active and sane throughout this quarantine. We're checking in with bass players from all over the world to see what they're doing to stay entertained, healthy, productive, and safe during this trying time.
Bass Player: Reggie Young
Bands & Artists: Lenny Kravitz, Alicia Keys, Showtime at the Apollo, Solo artist
Home: New York City
How have you been passing time during the lockdown?
First, let me express how saddened I am about all the musicians, family, and friends we've lost during this Covid-19 pandemic. It led my heart to want to engage with bass players around the world. So I developed a platform on facebook called I'm the Talent [www.facebook.com/imthetalent], where we can all see and hear great stories from our favorite bassists and other musicians via livestream. I want musicians to be able to smile and get some fun facts they probably never knew about their favorite performers. It's an escape from feeling sheltered in place. You can ask us questions and talk with other viewers.
What have you been working on in terms of your bass practice routine?
Honestly, I was a little down because of people getting sick. I didn't touch my bass for about three or four weeks. Then one Sunday morning I was watching an inspirational video from the Queen Latifah Show, and “Trust In God,” by the Winans was playing. It was produced by Bill Maxwell, with Abraham Laboriel on bass. I took my bass out of the case and began playing with the song. Such a feeling of love and joy came over me that I decided to pull up the album. I learned the song the way Abraham played it, just like I used to do back in the day. The next day I called my friend and sax player, Abel Mireles—we'd been discussing doing some videos to post. He was practicing when I called so I asked him to make a recording of him practicing and send it to me. It was crazy! It made me practice. It became my practice clip for a week! I posted it on my instagram page [@reggie_young_music].
What music, songs, recordings, artists, bass players have you been listening to as a source of comfort and inspiration that you can recommend?
I've been listening to music from the ’80s and ’90s, like Steely Dan’s Aja, Andrae Crouch’s I'll Be Thinking Of You, Michel Camilo’s Rendezvous, Chick Corea’s Inside Out and The Chick Corea Elektric Band, John Patitucci’s Mistura Fina and On The Corner, and the Winans’ Introducing The Winans. These records were an intricate part of my life when I was very young.
What bass gear have you been playing and trying out?
I’ve been playing my signature Fodera 6-string basses and Epifani amps. I need to go and get my pedalboard from the Apollo Theater since we just received notice that it will be closed the remainder of the year due to the lockdown.
What non-music activities books, shows, movies or workout recommendations do you have?
I'm a "school teacher" for my two daughter, aged seven and nine, so that keeps me busy. After the day’s schoolwork is done, I enjoy taking them bike riding or walking in the park. I do exercise at home and I’m eating healthier; I’ve lost 19 lbs during the pandemic. Recently, I've pulled out my Indian motorcycle and I ride a bit.
What projects do you have coming up when the world gets going again?
I'm going to continue doing I’m the Talent episodes on Facebook. Sales of my most recent album, Young Street, have picked up during the lockdown. However, some of the orders came in through my website from overseas, for physical CD sales. I’ve had to refund them and turn away orders because the U.S. Postal Mail service is being rejected by other countries during the pandemic. So, if you're not in the United States, you’ll have to get my music via digital download, which is available on my website, iTunes, CD baby, and Amazon.
What advice can you offer fellow bassists for staying positive and keeping morale high?
We're all figuring this out together. It's important that musicians develop a strong secondary plan of income and health insurance, if you don't already have this in place. I know this might not sound good, but you may need to consider being a musician as your secondary income. Music is a tough business to sustain yourself in, and the world as we know it will never be the same again. This is exactly why I have the I'm The Talent platform on Facebook. We can hear opinions and all work through this together. One Community! Blessings to you all. Stay Safe and be well.
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All check-ins compiled and edited by Jon D'Auria & Chris Jisi