AAJ talks with Bertram Turetzky

All About Jazz talks with double bassist, author and  teacher Bertram Turetzky:Contrabassist Bertram Turetzky’s career is nothing short of extraordinary. He almost single handedly redefined the role of the bass in 20th Century classical music, from one of back row support to that of featured and celebrated soloist. Even within the confines of classical music, Turetzky’s range is huge: he is a master of early, pre- Bach music; a noted performer of chamber music; a veteran of symphonic ensembles; and he’s played everything from Brahms and Strauss to 20th Century mavericks like John Cage and Edgard Varese. Well over 300 composers have written works specifically for him to perform. (…) Even before his career in classical music, Turetzky loved jazz. His depth of experience in the many genres that define the idiom is likewise astonishing. As a young Jewish kid, he jammed with black Swing-era stars in the 1950s-playing, to this day, with an Ellington repertory band. Charles Mingus accepted him as a student, (though Turetzky backed out). (…) One of Turetzky’s defining characteristics is his creation of what are known as extended-techniques. You could say that he wrote the book on extended contrabass techniques-literally. His master edition of these ideas, The Contemporary Contrabass (University of California Press, 1974), is still the standard practicum for both virtuoso bass studies, and a kind of cookbook for New Music composers. Indeed, many of those 300 commissions were written for him after composers got a look at what the bass was capable of.Read the interview at www.allaboutjazz.com

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