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Bruno Råberg is an internationally renowned bass player and composer. Since coming to the U.S. from his native Sweden in 1981, he has made six recordings as a leader, about 30 as a sideman, and has performed with numerous world-class artists.
Some of the distinguished musicians Råberg has performed and recorded with include Jerry Bergonzi, George Garzone, Sam Rivers, Billy Pierce, Donny McCaslin, Billy Hart, Bob Moses, Mick Goodrick, Ben Monder, Bruce Barth, Jim Black, Matt Wilson, Ted Poor, Bob Mintzer, and John Medeski. Tours have taken Råberg throughout Europe, Scandinavia, the U.S., Japan, India, Africa, and Central America, and to jazz festivals such as Pori, Umbria, Monterey, Nancy, Bologna, Graz, Stockholm, Boston, and Cape Town. Råberg is currently leading the Lifelines Quartet with Chris Cheek, Ben Monder, and Ted Poor.
"I started playing electric bass at age 12. I played in a pop group, mainly covers of the hit songs of the day. Then I started getting into groups that played more improvised solos, such as Jimi Hendrix and Cream. One specific summer, I was introduced by a friend to Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, John McLaughlin, Ornette Coleman, and John Coltrane, which completely blew my mind. That's when I started getting into more jazz-oriented music. I played professionally for six years, touring most of Europe as well as New York and the Monterey Jazz Festival. Then in '81 I decided I wanted to go back to school, and that's when I went to New England Conservatory and studied bass with Miroslav Vitous, a founding member of the group Weather Report."
"I teach a class on South Indian rhythmic solfège, a class where we do rhythmic exercises using spoken solfège. Students can apply the material they learn to any style of music or playing situation. It helps them solidify their own rhythm, yet be flexible enough to play in dynamic situations. It helps students grow as individuals, but also as members of the ensemble."
"Over the years, I've learned that no two students are the same and that teaching style is really determined by students' learning styles. You have to be very flexible as a teacher and patient enough to get to know the students and understand how things click for them."
"The hallmark of a good bassist is knowing the foundation of both your own instrument and the music—understanding your own playing but also the role of your instrument within a group, how to interact and listen. In my teaching I make sure to cover all those aspects."
"I think that playing and touring with bands for a long time, like I did, gives you a unique perspective about what it means to really be a part of a band. You learn about real human experience, things that aren't exactly music-related but in the end are definitely part of playing in a band."
"I want my students to take away from my classes the importance of learning foundations of music while at the same time believing in their own musical imagination. I want to send them off knowing that with the right attitude and curiosity about music, they can have a long musical life. It's about the journey, not the goal. Celebrity is not what is important, and neither is becoming an overnight sensation. In the end it's about enjoying playing music with others, and that is something that hasn't changed for me since I was really young. It's the same feeling."