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David Basse began his professional music career in 1969, when his parents
trusted the neighbors to keep an eye on him while they vacationed in
California. Basse seized that opportunity and turned it into a six-night gig at a
local cocktail lounge with a band named “Carroll Lee and the Moonlighters”. This
gig was the first small step in mastering many styles of drumming and
subsequently learning to sing from the drumset. He stayed with Lee for the next
three years, earning his way through high school and onto the road at age 17. In
1974, he landed in Kansas City, after gigs in Denver, Nashville, New Orleans,
Winnipeg Manitoba, a trip to LA and various teenaged forays throughout the
United States.
In August of 1982 David Basse began his focus on jazz. He made a tough decision:
attend his tenth high school class reunion, or take a much-needed gig at City
Light, then a brand new Kansas City nightclub located at 7425 Broadway. Little
did he know that one night stand with vocalist Pricilla Bowman would turn into
almost seven years, five nights a week at the nightclub and an opportunity to
rub elbows with politicians, community leaders, and to jam with jazz royalty
such as Johnny Griffin, Richie Cole, and Les McCann. The regular members of the
band often included Claude “Fiddler” Williams, Carmell Jones, and Basse’s
newfound mentor Ahmad Alaadeen.
Meeting drummer Bill Goodwin in 1985 led Basse to try his luck in the Los
Angeles.Bill introduced David to pianist Mike Melvoin; a musician that David
had idolized from Mike’s extensive studio work and on records by Tom Waits,
Frank Sinatra and many others. Starting in 1992, Melvoin helped Basse establish
himself in L.A. and to develop a body of original material that continues to grow
to this day. West coast bands led by Basse featured Melvoin and other noted
musicians such as bassist Andy Simkins, trumpeter Steve Huffstetter,
trombonist Slyde Hyde, and drummer Earl Palmer.
In 2003 Basse funded and produced a recording that became a Grammy
nominated project for Mike Melvoin. The duo traveled to the east coast and
performed at the Deer Head Inn. This legendary nightclub is housed in a 150-
year-old Inn in the Delaware River Valley, on the Appalachian Trail. Saxophonist
Phil Woods lives just a few blocks from the Inn, as well as many other
celebrated artists and musicians. The recording project began when Goodwin
brought Basse and Melvoin to Woods’ home for a rehearsal that featured many
originals that Woods instantly dubbed, “The American songbook raised up a
notch”.
Today, Basse’s ninth recording, “The Hero and the Lover…” is a culmination of
over forty years of trial and error, serendipitous miscalculation and a powerful
and undying love of art and music. It is a testament to the tenacity that it takes
to survive in the face of an international recession and continue to create
worthwhile art.
Besides traveling in support of his new recording and publically speaking on the
merits and musical heritage of his adopted hometown - Kansas City; David Basse
hosts a weekly jazz radio program at the University of Kansas and is the featured
male vocalist on “The 12th Street Jump” - public radio’s “weekly jazz, blues and
comedy jam”.
Early in 2014 we find Basse at it again - embarking on a late night syndicated jazz
radio project entitled “Jazz Alive Overnight.”
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