lthough Touch-Style play has not yet seized center stage on MTV, a number of artists have become known to music fans around the world. Here are a few of the better-known artists in the 90’s music scene:
â€¢ Stanley Jordan
In 1983, 23-year old Princeton graduate Jordan was performing New York’s streets, dazzling all with amazing two-handed touch-style technique, often blending walking bass, accompaniment and soaring lead at once.
Hard to categorize, Jordan plays jazz, reworks pop songs, and rocks classical music. Check out “Bolero” on Arista records. Plays various guitars, shown here with Santucci TrebleBass.
â€¢ Bob Culbertson
Brilliant SF-Bay Area guitarist and one of the best Stick-players in the world, Culbertson has developed a unique “thumbs on top” method which permits expanded left-hand reach. Culbertson rocks, producing blinding cascades of notes, tumbling madly through time.
Check out “A Moment in Time” CD $16: 1085 Foxchase, San Jose 95123. Or his “Solo Stick” video $32 from Guitar Showcase, 3052 Bascom Ave #200, San Jose 95124.
â€¢ Michael Manring
“My mission in life is to show that the bass is a vital and expressive instrument which has a great deal to say.” Bass-Player magazine’s Bassist of the Year twice, Manring evokes haunting timbres from Zon basses, sometimes playing two basses simultaneously. New-age, jazz, even thrash, he keeps opening new doors. Picking, touch-style, or using the eBow, it’s always lyrical.
Check out “Drastic Measures” or any ‘Montreux’ CD on Windam Hill.
â€¢ Eddy Van Halen
After 20 years of recording, Van Halen says he still wants to rock because he’s still 16 inside. And he has transformed rock with whammy-bar dives, false harmonics, and especially with tapping, using two hand alternations to get rapid flurries of notes.
He likes to jam and creates most tunes that way. His music evolved over his career, producing many pop hits. His start? “Smoking, drinking, and playing guitar at age 12.”
â€¢ Daniel Schell
Schell is the inventor of ‘C-Dots,’ used world over by tapping musicians. (Note: the Megatar Bass dot-markers shown here are different from Schellâ€™s â€˜C-Dotâ€™ system.) Shell is also known for his ‘Mirror Fourths’ tuning, as detailed in his method book “My Space,” (available from Clic Music in Belgium, and from Touch-Style Publications in New Jersey). Daniel Schell is also a prolific European composer and recording artist. He has written operas and compositions within the tradition of Indian music.
Schell is the guiding light for the ‘Seminar du Tape’ which takes place in Europe each summer.
â€¢ Victor Wooten
Victor Wooten first came to the notice of the world as a member of the Bella Fleck and the Flecktones band. Bella Fleck is a banjo player and in a startling move for popular music, has hit the top of the charts with such tunes as “The Sinister Minister.”
Viewers of the Flecktones and concert visitors have been startled to see bass sensation Wooten at work. (The third member of the Flecktones is Wooten’s brother, ‘Future Man,’ who plays drums electronically upon a SynthAxe!)
Wooten’s astounding ability to pick, slap, pop, tap and generally rip up the atmosphere has led to two solo albums appearing to rave reviews, and he’s currently hosting a column in Bass Player Magazine, sharing with the world his surprising methods.
â€¢ Rob on Bass (R.O.B.)
Currently touring Japan, Robert Turley plays touch-style funk on Santucci TrebleBass, and is fighting a running battle with NYPD’s refusal to issue a performing license to street musicians, although NYPD busts them for ‘performing without a license.’ R.O.B. wowed the Donahue show, as he does on the New York streets, with funky funky music!
Check out “Lock & ROB” CD $20 from POB 73, Times Square, New York 10108.
â€¢ Frank Jolliffe
A touch-style pioneer, New Jersey guitarist Jolliffe was among the first to accept Chapman’s Stick, and has been a constant touch-style performer and educator for 20 years.
Jolliffe has been called “a Chapman Stick maestro” by Guitar Player and “the best … straight-ahead jazz … player on the New York club scene” by the New York Post. Now plays Warr Guitar (shown here). Check out “Solo Stick” $12 from 24 Mill Street #403, Paterson NJ 07501.
â€¢ Tony Levin
Widely known for Chapman Stick work, Levin played upright bass at 10, tuba in high school, and Fender Precision at Eastman School of Music. Has played and recorded with the best, and toured with Peter Gabriel who says Levin is probably the best bass player in the world.
Currently on the road again with King Crimson. Check out “World Diary” CD $15 from Papa Bear, POB 498, Woodstock NY 12498.