>> write // ian froman: drums on bass pg 2
CT: Bassists have often signed up for lessons with you, what kind of things can bassists expect in a lesson?
Ian: Pretty much the same thing that I did with Chris Tarry. Playing tunes and making it really swing. The feel is probably the most important thing that a bass player can study with a drummer.
CT: The tale of you and Metalwood's Chris Tarry hooking up is worthy of a folk song... How about telling your side of the story?
Ian: Well, Chris had a friend who was studying with me ... Johnny Rabb.
To make a long story short, Chris started playing in my office and I began giving him tips about the bass and drum relationship (same as I had done with other bassists including Matt Garrison). When Chris moved back to Canada and wanted to record a CD, he called and I flew to Vancouver to play. We had such a great time, that after the CD came out, he wanted to tour and I was free at that time.
The first two years of playing trio with Chris and Steve Fisk were the building blocks for a really strong relationship both musically and professionally. We have been on the road so many times, playing so many gigs and hooking up so well that our relationship has grown into something very special. The musical feeling is very natural and comfortable - however, we have continued to grow and expand our stuff together!
CT: What intrigued you to work with Chris at Berklee? And at that, Chris is primarily an electric player within a jazz context. How do you feel about the electric bass in an acoustic jazz context?
Ian: I just had a good feeling about Chris, he was a nice guy asking intelligent questions and a real desire to learn. I enjoyed helping out musicians and showing them info that was passed on to me from other great players. If an electric bassist can walk correctly and play strong notes on strong beats, not rush or drag, then I generally enjoy playing with him or her.
CT: What kind of things would you be working on with Chris while at Berklee?
Ian: We worked mostly on swing time. Placing the right note (harmonically) on the right beat, then feel, and having the "swing time feel" feeling really good and swinging. We played open changes, blues, rhythm changes and different tunes to get the real jazz feel going.
CT: When you first started working with Metalwood, how did you want to approach the music that was being presented to you?
Ian: Groove music with no swing. But the thing is to make it loose and open. No slick fusion beats and all that rigid stuff. I did not want to play repeated patterns and have to stick to it - I wanted to improvise in a groove setting.
CT: You have worked with some very cool people. I'll name them, and then you tell me something about them that you've picked up and have been able to incorporate into your music.
Dave Liebman - Hard core! Right to the point! Play consistent and well - Focus.
Gary Burton - Extremely professional and a great musician.
Tommy Smith - Strong sax man. He allowed me to initiate drum parts for the music.
Ahmad Mansour - Great conceptual approach. Loose and open.
Chuck Burrows - He taught basics and fundamental of jazz drumming. Very thorough.
Joe Hunt - A very conceptual approach to teaching and learning.
Bob Kaufman - Elvin and more Elvin!
Mick Goodrick - Understated master musician. He can really set up a vibe.
Ben Monder - A wonderful stylist. He can really take the music somewhere.
CT: Who do you listen to these days and are there any players, drummers or otherwise that you find are innovating and pushing the envelope?
Ian: I listen to pretty much everything that is out there. I like a lot of styles and genres and really appreciate what different players are doing. Many of my friends are great musicians that I see on a regular basis. And I enjoy hearing them create new music.
CT: Any plans on recording or leading your own project? If so, who would you like to have play on it?
Ian: At this point of my life I am still very interested in being the perfect interpreter of other peoples' original music. I love being a sideman with a lot of freedom to express myself.
CT: Desert island discs. Name some of your all time favourite recordings.
John Coltrane - A Love Supreme
John Coltrane - Transition
Jan Garbarek - Paths, Prints
Keith Jarrett - My Song
Keith Jarrett Trio - Still Live
Miles Davis - Four and More
Miles Davis - Miles Smiles
Mick Nock - Ondas
CT: Any final thoughts on music, life, bass playing, drumming that you wish to share with the ActiveBass community?
Ian: Being a musician is an extremely rewarding way of life. To be able to do something that I love, every single day, is really a treat. I am lucky to experience this unique and alternative lifestyle. Have fun!