The Herman bass guitar The Herman bass guitar story tells the tale of a unique…
Hammond organ master and Associate Professor-Interim Assistant Chair of the Berklee College of Music piano department – Dave Limina – has been a musical ally and friend since my days at Berklee. Dave, our honorary long-distance member of the Funkestra came first to my attention when he performed with my bass teacher Anthony Vitti, drummer Larry Finn and guitarist Tomo Fujita. This lead me to pluck up all my courage and ask Dave and Larry to play on my first solo record in 1996: ‘Redtenbacher’s Funkestra – Boozing Wizards (Searching for the Stone of Funk)’
I fell in love with the sound of the Hammond organ and Leslie speaker way back then and Dave has played pretty much played on most of our records – although there is a fairly big pond between us. He has visited on many occasions to record with us and this time it was time for Mike, Eran and myself to pay him a visit as he has embarked on his first solo record.
We were delighted to meet Dave Minehan and record in his fabulous Woolly Mammoth Sound recording studio. In addition of having a fab music career in his own right (The Neighborhoods), Dave M has built a super-vibrant studio with all the stuff one could possibly dream to have.
Dave M’s sounds and cool studio vibes plus Dave L’s groovalicious tunes and world-class off the chart organ playing were the perfect combo to have a funky good time – of course, we also felt ‘roasted’ at times but do hope the music will come out just the way Dave L wants it. The typical musician/studio joke “It will sound great once we’ll get the real guys in” came to my mind, more than once, and for more than one reason:-)
After two – at times pretty spaced out days due to jet-lag in the studio – it was time to get ready to re-visit my ol’ stomping ground (Berklee College of Music) and to meet new musicians bringing their shizzle to some of the Funkestra repertoire.
Horn players are in my experience never ever short of character and this yet again held true when we met a three piece horn section assembled by Dave.
Yaure Muniz – from Cuba – and an extremely lively and powerful trumpet player + he made us laugh quit a bit!
Angelo Subero – from Venezuela – super great attitude, friendly and what a player!
Tucker Antell – ridiculous powerhouse of a tenor saxplayer – and also a supernice guy – surely there must be a rub somewhere:-)
With these three guys and Dave, Mike, Eran and myself we set out to play a gig at 1140 Boylston street.
This is how Berklee College of Music billed us:
“The Redtenbacher’s Funkestra is a prominent groove jazz/funk band from London, England. Led by Berklee alumnus Stefan Redtenbacher on bass and compositions, the group features intricate and masterfully arranged groove music.”
Have a look HERE if you want to have a listen to the concert.
Considering the fact that I ran straight into John Patitucci and Victor Wooten – both legendary bassists who will forever sit in the Pantheon of Greats – the gig went alright…
Later on we played at the Ellis Room as a quartet and Joshua Troderman made us feel extremely welcome and impressed us all with his enthusiasm and energy – I had a great time and was marveling over the performance of everyone in the band: Dave, Tucker, Mike and Eran played their funky socks off. Can’t believe Dave has a weekly gig there – I’m so envious – would love to beam myself over once a week! Thank you also to my friend, writer and pianist Juliet Eastman to pop in with her family – always great to hook up – however briefly!
We had one more day to check out Berklee and see two gigs – one with Incognito and one with Club D’Elf run by bassist Mike Rivard – two very different gigs and both amazing!
Also, fantastic to spend a little time with Sid Gauld before the Incog gig. Felt like a Funkestra reunion in Boston – we haven’t been together since a Funkestra gig at The Electric Theater in Guildford many, many moons ago! I was also really pleased to hook up Sid and my friend Gail MacArthur who now works for Berklee besides being a great Scottish lass who kicks A!@ on tenor sax!
I crashed one of the bass labs of my former teacher Anthony Vitti – who was also kind enough to lend me his beloved 1963 Fender Jazz Bass for the week – what a guy – many happy memories and good to know to still have a friend in him.
Also great to see Larry Finn, Steve Bailey, Tom Appleman and Bruce Gertz – full of energy – still – and a very pivotal teacher in my life. He is an absolute powerhouse and fabulous musician.
Once more I want to thank Dave Limina for inviting us over and making us feel so welcome – probably not every day that he has three funkateers staying in his house. Also to my funk brothers Mike and Eran who not only played their socks off but also very fab company. We got on so well – a true testament of our lasting friendship – musically and otherwise. Here is to many more – I’m a lucky guy and considering the fact that I’ve graduated from Berklee 22 years ago and I’m still playing my funky bass and making music – I feel truly blessed by the gods of funk (whoever they might be:-).