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Acoustic bassist John Patitucci has performed throughout the world and as a studio musician with Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, Pat Metheny, Wynton Marsalis, Astrud and Joao Gilberto, Joao Bosco, and Dori Caymmi. Since 1985, his many recordings with Chick Corea, Aeos Elektric Band and Akoustic Band, his six solo recordings for GRP Records, and his subsequent recordings have put him at the forefront of the jazz world and brought him worldwide acclaim, as well as three Grammy Awards and over 20 Grammy nominations. Patitucci is professor of jazz studies at the City College of New York and a frequent clinician and guest lecturer at schools around the world. He is currently touring with his trio in support of his latest recording, Remembrance, which features saxophone genius Joe Lovano and drum virtuoso Brian Blade.
“At the Berklee Global Jazz Institute, we teach how to use music as a force for change, to uplift the culture and to uplift people, which I find very exciting. Some say that excellence in your craft and focusing on society are mutually exclusive, but I beg to differ. The masters I’ve worked with, some of the most important names in the history of music, are not only very successful, they’re also humanitarians.
“In music we talk a lot about earth, wind, fire, and water. As a bassist, you have to love being the ‘earth.’ You have to understand the absolute responsibility and power of being the earth. That means providing that solid foundation—time and groove—and creating a feeling that frees up the rest of the band to play. It means being willing to make selfless choices to make the whole picture sound good.
“A great rhythmic power and feeling opens the door to communicating with any kind of music. After that your sound has to be beautiful enough to engage people. If you have everything else intellectually, but don’t have that rhythm and sound, no one will want to listen. Those who get that in their head sooner rather than later are the ones who improve faster.”