Daniel Morris

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Daniel "Mo" Morris is a professor in the Bass Department at Berklee College of Music, working with students since 1988. He is known for his muted tone, warm personality, and ability to work with all levels of students.

Morris gigs regularly with the band Calypso Hurricane, and was the bass player for the James Montgomery Blues Band and Jon Pousette-Dart Band. He has also performed with Bo Diddley, Robin Ford, James Cotton, and Paula Abdul. He is the author of Instant Bass and Essential Rock Grooves for Bass. He is an alumnus of Ithaca College and a Berklee graduate.

Career Highlights
  • Performances with Calypso Hurricane, Bo Diddley, Robben Ford, Jon Pousette-Dart, and James Cotton
  • Numerous Caribbean tours with the James Montgomery Blues Band
  • Jingles with Paula Abdul and Young MC
  • Author of Instant Bass and Essential Rock Grooves for Bass


In Their Own Words

"I want students to come away from my classes with life skills, like the ability to read a situation and try to understand the natural flow of it. As a bass player, you need to be able to sense what the song needs on the bottom of the chord. The song might need a little push from the rhythm section to get it to the chorus or perhaps it may need to lay back and get minimalized in order to go back into the last verse. These are communicative skills that anyone could use in any facet of life."

"My mission is really to teach the students how to develop their individuality in terms of their rhythmic concept and their tonal concept, what notes to play and when. There's a consequence to every note you play. And even when you don't play, such as when there's a rest, there's a consequence, because when the bass comes in, it's going to be huge."

"The typical bass student at Berklee is very much a novice when it comes to understanding the role of the bassist in a group. Many of them have developed skills, flashy skills—what I like to refer to as 'music store chops.' These musicians sound great in a music store. They do some very fast playing, very exciting stuff that you can actually use at the end of a solo and the crowd will go nuts. But they're spending way too much time on that, and they're not spending enough time on the fundamental maxim of bass, which is: The bass player's role is to keep time and to address the tonality of the moment."

"There's a traditional gospel song that says, 'You have to build your house on a solid foundation.' A potential student has to be attracted to that role, and I don't think it's made for everyone. Usually, you'll find that bass players are caring people; they're somewhat gregarious, yet they're sensitive. The ego is in check more times than not."