The Bates Update – Jan 2015

Happy New Year everyone!

Gather ‘round for a tale of tragedy, triumph, tribute and revitalization. In this age of social media and transitory relationships we are often feeling more connected and yet perhaps we remain farther apart than ever before. Through my use of social media though, I have managed to reconnect with many of my old friends and associates. Most of the time these reconnections last only a day or so as I pass through a town to perform at a venue and continue on my journey as a bassist. In real life those moments are the highlights of my travels. I value the personal connections I’ve made with people in my life and I appreciate any and all efforts people make to sustain them. These little intersections persist beyond just a few hours in real life as we now have the ability to see and follow many of our friends in the virtual world too. Which brings me to a Facebook message I received on Christmas day from an old high school classmate of mine Dave Melek.

“Sorry to bother you on Xmas. Any interest in doing some recording on Sunday the 28th at the Terrarium with Jason Gerling and me? Long story but the bass player that was part of these recordings is out. If you are interested I will send more info on what we would be doing. Merry xmas!”

“I’m definitely interested Dave. I am in the midst of Xmas with the fam. Let’s talk later tonight if you’re free.”

Even though I had only a tiny sliver of connection to Dave I felt something powerful in our conversation later that evening. Dave’s brother Jason had passed away earlier this year after a long battle with mental illness. Of all the ways in which we can die this one seems the most frustrating and tragic to me because it leaves so many people with unanswered questions. As it turns out Jason had left behind close to 200 songs in various states of completion and Dave was feeling compelled to finish them in order to find some sort of closure for his family and friends who are still reeling from this loss. I can’t think of a better reason to be involved with music. On top of ALL of that Dave told me that my old friend Jason Gerling would be drumming.

Jason Gerling is one of my oldest friends from my musical past and a truly inspiring person. As far back as I can remember Jason was one of the most truly gifted and hard working musicians I’ve known. Jason and I have remained in touch off and on over the years and talked about trying to play together again. However, it would be different than before because now Jason is a quadriplegic. He suffered his injury in a car accident over 20 years ago. Over time Jason has been able to work his way back and can now play drum set again! In the last 10 years Jason has worked to develop a drum set that allows him to play without his feet! It is truly remarkable and I can honestly say that I can’t even tell that he has a disability. Reconnecting with him after 22 years is truly an incredible gift. (For way more on Jason’s story go here: WCCO)

To be working with Jason and Dave to help bring these songs to life is actually indescribable. We’re in the studio, tracking to the voice and guitar of a great songwriter, who we cannot interact with. Dave is there making suggestions and egging us on to ‘listen and feel my brother’. It’s working! We’re all getting goosebumps, shedding some tears and freaking out over how good everything sounds. We have 4-5 tunes recorded so far and we’ll be working on more over the next few months. Then we’re going to play live. I’ll keep you posted on that. Until then just know that music is truly a healing force and that our real life connections have far more value than our virtual ones. Please keep in touch virtually, but really, I hope to see and interact with you out in the real world. It’s where it all actually happens.

Rob, Dave, Jason & CB

Rob, Dave, Jason & CB

Here’s what’s happening this month:

Tuesday Jan 6th

8:30pm  $10 donation  All Ages

Bill Simenson Big Band @ Jazz Central

Saturday Jan 10th

6pm  FREE

Joel Shapira, Eric Kamau Gravatt and CB @ Loring Pasta Bar

Monday Jan 12th

8:30pm  $10 donation  All Ages

Adam Meckler @ Jazz Central

Wednesday Jan 14th

8:30pm  $10 donation  All Ages

Chris Bates w/ Peter Schimke and Cory Healey @ Jazz Central

A reprise of one of my favorite interactions from last year. This trio has the ability to freely range all over the musical map.

Friday Jan 16th

8:00pm  $5 

Steve Kenny w/ Brandon Wozniak, Babatunde Lea and CB @ The Nicollet

This quartet has been getting a little more active lately and always heats up the room with musical spirits!

Sunday Jan 18th

4pm  $15  All Ages

Guitar Summit @ Jazz Central

A bevy of guitar slingers will be threading their yarns all over your earholes. I’ll be playing bass and Mac Santiago will be playing drums. Check out the link for more info.

Monday Jan 19th

8:30pm  $10 donation  All Ages

Flute Summit @ Jazz Central feat: Mark Yannie, Stan Scott and Doug Little.

Tuesday Jan 20th

7pm  FREE

Acme Jazz Company @ Crooners Lounge

This is a new one for me as I dig into this book of original big band charts.

Friday Jan 23rd

7:30pm  $10 donation  All Ages

Atlantis Quartet @ Jazz Central

Our first gig of 2015 after a very successful fall and winter. This band continues to evolve!

Saturday Jan 24th

7:30pm  FREE

Sean Roderick w/ Zach Schmidt & CB @ Chilkoot Cafe

Sunday Jan 25th


Tribute to Leigh Kamman @ St Paul Hotel

I’ll be there playing some bass and hanging out. A lovely way to pay tribute to this magnificent personality who gave so much to the jazz community all across the nation.

Monday Jan 26th

9:30pm  $10  21+

The 2nd Annual Steve Davis Throwdown! @ Icehouse

Feat: Steve Davis, Jon Davis and a whole host of Jazz Implosion regulars. Steve’s resume includes a long stint with Jackie McLean! Don’t miss!

Saturday Jan 31st

8:30pm  $10 donation  All Ages

Dean Granros Quartet @ Black Dog

This band has really taken off since our first gig last fall. We’re recording an album the week following this gig so come check out this super intense and hilarious band and enjoy a rare two guitar front line. Feat: Zacc Harris, Jay Epstein & CB.

Jason's new kit.

Jason’s new kit.

Between the Wheels

Between the Wheels

December was a great month of music making and I’m so happy to see a lot of people coming out on both sides of the river to a really diverse range of performances. I’m excited to be working with David Cazares at MPR on his ‘Feeling the Vibe’ Podcast. We’ve been highlighting the best shows each week in the jazz and improvised music scene here in the Twin Cities. I have a feeling that 2015 is going to be an incredible year and I look forward to crossing paths with all of you! Help spread the word on these shows and show your support to as many local artists as you can in all mediums! Music is a healing force and one of the few truly mysterious and transcendent results of our consciousness. We’re all out here floating around on spaceship earth together so let’s make it worth our while, our children’s, and our children’s children and so on down the line. Pay it forward.

Peace and love and music! – cb