Instructors

Gerald Veasley

Gerald Veasley’s musical odyssey has taken him to the top of the contemporary music world as a bassist, bandleader, composer, producer and educator. His performance as a bassist has been top shelf, as his memorable work with the late, great Grover Washington Jr., Joe Zawinul, and the Jaco Pastorius Big Band attests.

He has recorded and/or performed with many of the world’s top performers in various genres of music such as Chuck Loeb, Special EFX, Pieces of a Dream, McCoy Tyner, Gerald Levert, Teddy Pendergrass, Nnenna Freelon, Philip Bailey, The Dixie Hummingbirds, Phil Perry, Will Downing and Pat Martino.

Gerald currently has a residency at Philadelphia’s most prestigious jazz venue, SOUTH, where he is curator of the “Unscripted Jazz Series”. The series has presented more than 75 events featuring notable guest artists such as Kirk Whalum, Raul Midón, Alex Bugnon, Kim Waters, Keiko Matsui, Maysa, Rick Braun, and Gerald Albright. He is in the process of producing two recording projects, “The Purple House” and a salute to the legacy of The Sound of Philadelphia.

When not collaborating with notable artists, Gerald tours and records with his band, which features talented musicians in their own right. Gerald’s recordings as a bandleader are: Look Ahead, Signs, Soul Control, Love Letters, On The Fast Track, Velvet, Live at The Jazz Base, Your Move and The Electric Mingus Project.

Veasley is on the faculty of the University of the Arts (Philadelphia), where he shares his knowledge of the electric bass and jazz performance. He is founder and artistic director of Gerald Veasley’s Bass BootCamp, which has nurtured a growing army of bassists of all skill levels. Whether performing, recording, collaborating, or teaching, Gerald brings a joyous, polished professionalism to the process of making music.

David Dyson

Born in Rapid City, South Dakota on April 3, 1965, David Dyson relocated to Washington, D.C. with his parents at an early age of two. He began his education in D.C. public schools, later moving to the metropolitan Washington area and attending Maryland public schools. During this period, David played baritone (euphonium) in school and in county orchestras earning superior ratings on his instrument.

After hearing recordings of Larry Graham and Louis Johnson, the desire to switch to the bass was overwhelming. At age 12, David’s parents presented him with a beginner’s bass guitar.

Excelling rapidly, he eventually achieved the “outstanding bandmember” award during his high school senior year. After witnessing David’s participation in school, church, local top 40, R&B, funk and Go-Go bands (along with numerous studio sessions with local gospel artists), his parents wer convinced that his talent was worth nurturing and were supportive of his matriculation at Berklee College of Music, where more growth ensued.

Exposed to various idioms, David was able to absorb an array of musical flavors, as well as perform in diverse musical situations. Upon graduation, David locked in the position of bassist with Polygram recording artist, Walter Beasley.

In January 1989, he was called to audition for Maurice Starr (Producer of New Kids On The Block) and landed the gig. Eventually, earning the position of musical director, David helped to take their live show to an unprecedented pinnacle.

In February, 1992, he moved on to tour and/or record with a vast selection of artists spanning from world renown jazz saxophonist, Chico Freeman, to R&B fame of songwriter/singer/bassist and 1997 Downbeat Poll winner Me’Shell N’degeocello.

In December, 1999, David formed an allegiance with Marimelji Entertainment Group which led to the release of “Soulmates,” nationally, though Warner Brothers (WEA). His second release, “The Dawning” also garnering critical acclaim, was released on his own label “Lohandfunk.”

Throughout his career, David has earned quite a reputation as a bassist, songwriter, arranger and producer. He continues to strive for excellence as one of today’s most promising artists.

Chico Huff

Chico Huff has been playing electric bass professionally for about 40 years. He is primarily self taught, learning from all the wonderful musicians he’s had the pleasure of making music with over the years. He did his first paying gig when he was about 14 years old, playing standards on Martha’s Vineyard.

Over the years Chico has had the pleasure of performing and/or recording with these fine folks:
James Taylor, Kate Taylor, Alex Taylor, Carly Simon, Jeff Golub, Richard Elliott, Jef Lee Johnson, Kit Walker, Solas, Seamus Egan, Karan Casey, Liz Carroll, Chuck Leob, Terrance Blanchard, John Belushi, Dr. John, John Swana, Cathy Ryan, John Hall, Jefferson Airplane, Francois Corneloup, Susan Werner, Antje Duvecot, Lizanne Knott, and many more.

Chico has traveled in the USA and Europe extensively through the gift of music as well as Japan and Morocco.

Michael Manring

Hailed by many as the world’s leading solo bassist, Michael Manring has been pushing back the boundaries of what’s possible on the bass guitar for over three decades. While his technical skill and innovations always make an impression, it is his ability to communicate on a profound emotional level that most touches listeners. As editor Tom Darter wrote in Keyboard magazine after seeing one of Michael’s solo concerts, “Forget his astounding technique and musicality; forget his absolute command of his instruments; forget how seamlessly the musical ideas and the performance of them were wedded together…The enlightenment came most from feeling (seeing, hearing) the joy Michael felt to be playing…his brand of transcendental chops and musical understanding…was all in the service of the final outcome, the joy of making music.”

Building on the conceptions of his teacher, the late bass legend Jaco Pastorius, Michael has developed a new approach to the instrument that includes unorthodox tunings, techniques and methodologies. He has honed his skills on hundreds of recordings as a session musician and thousands of concerts throughout the world in venues including Carnegie Hall in NY, Yamaha Hall in Tokyo and Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco. Michael has worked with a surprisingly diverse collection of musicians from New Age keyboardist Suzanne Ciani to avant-improv guitar innovator Henry Kaiser to celebrated folk troubadour John Gorka to experimental post-metal rockers Tim Alexander (Primus) and Alex Skolnick (Testament) to electro-pop pioneer Thomas Dolby. His long-term collaboration and close friendship with the late acoustic guitar genius Michael Hedges led to a lengthy stint as house bassist for Windham Hill Records; a label for whom he also worked as a solo artist, releasing four recordings under his own name: Unusual Weather (1986), Toward the Center of the Night (1989), Drastic Measures (1991) and Thonk (1994). These, along with his 1998 release The Book of Flame on the Alchemy record label earned him an international reputation as “a master of the fretless bass without rival.” (Guitar Club Magazine, Italy). He has garnered two gold records, Grammy and Bammie nominations, a Berklee School of Music Distinguished Alumni Award, two Just Plain Folks Awards and numerous Bass Player Magazine Reader’s Poll awards including 1994 Bassist of the Year. He was also the subject of a PBS TV documentary, “The Artist’s Profile: Michael Manring” and a Youtube video of him playing his iconic solo piece “Selene” has well over a million views.

In his solo concerts Michael weaves together his musical influences into a tapestry rich with expression, virtuosity, humor and meaning. As one writer put it, “Michael Manring can do more with a bass than even the most creative individual could imagine” (L. Pierce Carson, Napa Valley Register). His newest release Soliloquy, performed entirely solo without overdubs, is the best recorded example yet of that depth and diversity. Using a variety of bass guitars and the far-reaching, innovative approaches he is renowned for, with Enhanced CD content including Michael’s extensive 24-page liner notes detailing the composing and recording process, photos and live performance videos, Soliloquy takes the listener on a unique musical journey. We hope you’ll follow the advice of France’s Musicien magazine: “Do not miss your next opportunity to discover the bassist with the most fresh and inventive playing today.”

Patrick Pfeiffer

Patrick Pfeiffer Artist’s Statement

I believe music nourishes the soul and touches the heart. It allows me as a performer and composer to share my emotions and my spirit with the audience. I play bass, the instrument that perfectly balances rhythm and harmony, providing the powerful heartbeat of the band.

My favorite instrument is the fretless six-string electric bass and my style is a distinctive blend of percolating, percussive notes that weave into the complex fabric of a groove and can unexpectedly soar with vocal-like quality. I incorporate elements of the sophistication of jazz, the grittiness of funk and the earthy feel of R&B, all germinating in a potent mix. My music implies simplicity, but upon closer examination reveals layers of complex harmonic structures and syncopated rhythms.

I write bass books, explaining the finer points of bass playing, even inventing new language to describe certain aspects of playing. I hope to inspire, empower and motivate bass players everywhere to achieve their highest level of artistic, creative and spiritual expression, so that they in turn can use their knowledge to create great music. My aim is to bring joy, passion, love, peace and harmony to all through the healing power of music.

Divinity Roxx

Her journey started on the burgeoning music scene in Atlanta, GA after falling in love with the bass guitar while studying Journalism at UC Berkeley. Her career as a bass-player skyrocketed after attending a bass camp led by the legendary Victor Wooten where she was invited to tour with him merely three months after the bass camp.

With limited funds, a heart full of passion and an energy that exudes resilience, she auditioned for Beyoncé and was selected as a band member and assistant Musical Director. While touring and working with the super-star for over 5 years, Divinity appeared on countless television shows including: The Grammy’s, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Saturday Night Live, Good Morning America with personal highlights including a special performance at The White House for President Barack Obama.

Divinity also acted as the Musical Director for K-Pop sensation, 2NE1 and joined them on their first worldwide New Evolution Tour in 2012. She played The Arsenio Hall Show, 106 and Parkand The Queen Latifah Show with rapper B.o.B. and has backed legends like Patti Labelle, Kelly Rowland, Erykah Badu and Gladys Knight on BET’s Black Girl’s Rock television show.

Despite these appearances with so many legendary and iconic figures, it is in her solo performance Divinity shines the brightest. Her ability to simultaneously play bass guitar while fronting her own band captivates audiences around the world. Her 2012 ‘Roxx Boxx Experience’ received critical acclaim as the ultimate funk mash-up of hip-hop and rock, featuring appearances by Grammy award winning artists and musicians Bootsy Collins and Killa Mike.

2016 has been the year of evolution as Divinity released her highly anticipated album, ‘ImPossible.’ From jazzy riffs to dub bass lines, hip-hop and rock, to straight r&b sensibilities, the resilience, bold and honest approach to the music sets this up to be Divinity’s breakout project. We truly get a sense of the artist she has evolved into and the purpose of her art. The first single, ‘We Are’, was released in 2015, produced by the great Keith Harris and inspired by the late June Jordan, her most influential professor while studying at UC Berkeley.

“We Are is more than a song, it’s the message I want to give to the world. We are the only ones who can positively effect the change we want to see in this world”. -divinity

Rob Smith

Rob Smith is a professional bassist, teacher, and clinician. He has taught over 25,000 lessons and has been an instructor at Gerald Veasley’s Bass BootCamp for the past eight years. He won the WMMR Building the Band contest and was previously named Philadelphia’s best rock bassist by Origivation magazine. Rob is currently performing and recording with Dave Weiner, Rob Balducci, and Matthew Landis. He proudly endorses Skjold Basses.