Hello everyone! It’s been a good long while since I updated so I do hope this message finds you and your families, loved ones, and pets all in good health. Here we are approximately one year since the first Coronavirus cases appeared in the USA and we’re still dealing with a raging pandemic. It has been nothing short of incredible to see so many creative, artistic people who pivoted and redirected their energies into remote performances, recording sessions, and other minimally public events. It’s certainly not the ideal way to hear music, and I miss the energy and vibrancy of live performances, but until we get this vaccination distributed widely I’m afraid that This IS The Way. I count myself among the lucky in that I have continued to be active in creating music. It has not been easy for me though! I have found myself struggling to stay positive and to stay motivated. It’s taken me many months to sort this out but I realized something very important for myself a short time ago. Beyond my love of, and the pleasure I derive from making music the majority of the work and practicing I have done for the last 15 years has been towards the next gig, the next album, the next collaboration. The problem with this is that I’ve grown addicted to being BUSY and defining my work based on how MUCH I was doing. But if we rewind 30 years to when I was 20, I was almost purely motivated by my own interests and my quest to be an ARTIST with a personal sound and becoming a badass bass player. It’s the exact reason I dropped out of college when I was 23. I wanted to be who I wanted to be. I had gained some knowledge and I needed to find out for myself what I could do. I rejected institutional learning and methodology. I found a super inspiring private teacher, I joined a band, and that band became the vehicle to explore ALL of the things I was interested in, in jazz. That band environment was so perfect for me. It gave me a chance to really go deep into so many things. There is an organic process that takes place in these situations where the music becomes richer and more nuanced due to the close relationships that develop in a band. Countless miles in vans, broken transmissions, flat tires, open cowlings (so we could spray carb cleaner directly into the engine) while racing down the freeway to make a gig in Lincoln, NE that paid little to nothing, so many hotels, long rehearsals, and intense performances. All of those experiences adding up to a sum greater than its parts. NOW after this long year of minimal work and hundreds of hours to reflect on the whys and hows of where I am as a musician, I’m starting to rebuild it all again. I’ve struggled to really find that original place of understanding within myself, that motivation to be who I want to be. It’s not an easy journey and it’s humbling because the fingers, the hands, the back, the shoulders, and the knees are now 50 years old and these bass strings are still the same tension and sometimes it HURTS to play this thing. I didn’t notice a lot of these little events occurring because I was wrapped up in DOING my job. I have only myself to blame because I lost sight of my greater goals. It’s never easy to acknowledge your own failures and it’s taken this pandemic year for me to see what I need to do to address some of mine. Thankfully I have some great family, friends, and bandmates who inspire me to dig into the real stuff. Go deep or go home. – CB
The Hook and Ladder Theatre presents ATLANTIS QUARTET on 1/29 at 8 pm. There are limited Live Studio Audience tickets available to this event (approximately one dozen tickets) so click on the link if you want to actually see and hear us in person. All safety protocols are in place and masks are required. If you can’t secure one of those tickets then join us online. The Hook and Ladder has been presenting high-quality streaming concerts for the last six months and we are very excited to be playing a concert of our Atlantis Quartet music for you. One of the best BANDS I’ve ever played in, Atlantis Quartet is always excited to play for you! We are putting together a wonderful set of music that spans all our recordings and we hope you can join us! All the show details and tickets are available in the link above.
Thank you all for staying tuned in.
- If you can’t make this show I’ll be playing again on Saturday, Feb. 13th at 8 pm with Laura Caviani and Dave Schmalenberger at Jazz Central Studios. The streaming content being created there in partnership with MCN6 TV is really great and is offering a wide variety of MN Jazz Music for you with streaming concerts every Friday and Saturday night.
- Here is a link to a Chris Bates Trio show that was recorded at Icehouse featuring Joe Strachan on piano and George Marich on drums.
Please support any and all efforts being made at this time across all artistic disciplines. We need the arts to help us see, feel, and understand different perspectives. Thank you for being you!
‘Without music, life would be a mistake’ – Friedrich Nietzsche