Rawn Randall, Artist Relations and Brand Manager for Osiamo, interviews fellow New Yorker Reggie Washington.
Can you give a brief retrospective on your musical background?
My parents were avid music fans and gave us the opportunity to learn an instrument; my brother Kenny (drums), my sister Yvette (violin/viola) and me (cello/bass). My father had a huge record collection and played music every day before and after work. I excelled in my private studies and got scholarships to study with highly regarded cellists and bassists from the American Symphony and New York Philharmonic Orchestras. When I switched to bass (age 12), I studied with Paul West (jazz) and Victor Venegas (Latin/Afro-Cuban). At this time a young Marcus Miller was coming to my house to learn about jazz from my brother. I became a "sponge" listening and learning all genre of music.
When I got in my 20’s I started playing out on the streets of New York during the day with a band called "Moment’s Notice" and hitting the jazz club jam sessions and after-hour bars to get my gig and road chops together. I wanted to learn and play all the tunes in the Real Book! Saxophonist John Purcell recommended me to drum legend Chico Hamilton’s band in 1982.
From that start I’ve performed/recorded/toured with Lester Bowie’s Mini-Fantasia, Kenny Kirkland, Mike Mainieri & Steps Ahead, Steve Coleman & 5 Elements, Branford Marsalis & Buckshot LeFonque, Roy Hargrove's RH Factor, Jean-Paul Bourelly, Don Byron, News from the Jungle, Screaming Headless Torsos, Meshell Ndegeocello, World Saxophone Quartet, Cassandra Wilson, Ute Lemper, B-52s, Chris Joris & Bob Stewart to name a few.
What do you have going on presently in your musical journey?
My 2nd CD entitled FREEDOM on JammincolorS Label! I’m very excited about it! I’m hoping this CD will present listeners with a complete idea of me and some of the things I’m about.
I’ve noticed over the years that in today’s music business it’s getting more and more difficult to express yourself and be true to yourself and your art. This is where the title came in. It was my “FREEDOM” to play with whom I want, play the music I want to play and be happy doing it as well as creating a strong CD!
What is the role of education in music?
Education is super important.
It just depends on who’s the "giver" of the information. The way I was educated is almost non-existent now. Those nurturing places (jam sessions, weekly workshops, older musicians, etc.) are now gone or are so expensive a lot of talented kids just can’t afford it. Gigs are so scarce that older established musicians don’t want to give info to the younger cats because some of them don’t seem to care about the heritage/history of the music and are only thinking about making some dollars!
What do think of the current "State of Music"?
It’s harder than ever to do what we do. I won’t point fingers; but we need to all get on the same page (promoters, club owners, managers, artists and the music media) to save and revive the art! In the immortal words of Rodney King, "Can’t we all just get along?" Or else we’re headed towards "virtual concerts" & "hologram acts" on our stages!! That will indicate the beginning of the end! I personally won’t let that happen as long as I can breathe and have the Most High’s gift of music in my heart and soul! I just WON’T groove w/a hologram!!
Why do you use R. Cocco Strings?
It was always a great fit for me, my bass and the music I was doing when I was with Richard Sr. back in 1995. Nothing much has changed. I still desire top quality, craftsmanship, superior tone and durability. R.Cocco strings fits the bill for me… again!
Reggie's second CD, "Freedom", can be found at Jammin'colorS.
And here is a new Youtube video about Reggie's new release: