About my instrument, the bass, and the world of bass players: There is an illustrative passage in the book Jazz Anecdotes Second Time Around by Bill Crow. “As a bass player,” he writes, “I can expect to be asked with some regularity, ‘Don’t you wish you’d played the piccolo?’ The questioner’s tone implies that he has thought of a humorous comment on the plight of someone who plays an instrument of such an inconvenient size. But that’s not a joke that makes musicians laugh. The size of a bass is appropriate to the wonderful sound it produces and is not considered a handicap by bass players. If I wanted to play the piccolo, I’d play one.”
One of history’s greatest conductors, Serge Koussevitzky, was trained in several instruments and ultimately chose to pursue the double bass. His recitals were highly acclaimed in his native Russia and in Europe, and In 1902 he wrote a popular concerto for the bass, contributing to its acceptance as a solo instrument. As conductor and music director of the Boston Symphony and founder of the Tanglewood Music Festival, Koussevitzky encouraged his musicians to make the most of their grand collaboration. “Let’s do it together,” he would say, “for our own satisfaction.” That, to me, is the simplest statement of the reason why musicians play.