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Franc O'Shea - February 2004


Franc O'Shea
Biography: I was born of Irish, English, and Spanish blood in Swaziland, Africa. I was influenced by the sounds of the native's songs and drumming as my mother would take me to tribal gatherings. After living in Indonesia for two years, I moved to England when I was six years old and took up the bass guitar at the age of twelve. I love for all types of music including jazz, flamenco, funk, irish folk, african, rock, and classical.

I was a founding member of the Brazilian dance combo Batu in 1992. Our first single, "Seasons of My Mind" which we recorded in Paris became a world wide club and radio hit. We also toured Europe regularly playing at major festivals such as Glastonbury as well as appearing on television in the U.K. Our last recording was for Island Records on their "Rebirth of Cool" series.

I have performed with many popular artists including the legendary Yes guitarist Steve Howe, the renowned 70's folk singer Beverley Martyn, and chart topping soul sensation Lisa Moorish with whom I appeared many times on European television. I have also recorded singles with garage band Bah Samba, supplying the bass for their international club hit "Reach Inside" as well as appearing on their critically acclaimed debut album Bah Samba.

In the field of jazz, I have worked with many top players including concerts with the famous American singer Joe Lee Wilson (Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins) who was the winner of the coveted "Downbeat Poll" in the singer's category for three years consecutive. I have worked with one of the U.K.'s greatest saxophonist's, Bobby Wellins, whose classic 1965 album Under Milk Wood is regarded by many critics as the best British jazz album of all time. I have also recorded with trumpeter Gerard Presencer (Joni Mitchell, Sting) who is renowned for his soloing on the Us3 reworking of "Cantaloupe Island" which was a major hit internationally.

My debut album, Esprit, featured Nigel Hitchcock (Paul McCartney, Pink Floyd), Byron Wallen (George Benson, Grace Jones), and Gerard Presencer. It received excellent reviews from many leading publications such as The Observer, Musician, Jazz Journal International, Bassist, and Jazzwise as well as receiving lots of radio play internationally.

In addition, two tracks from Esprit were selected for the "Bass Talk" compilation series. They appear alongside tracks by Victor Wooten, Michael Manring, and former Chick Corea bassist Bunny Brunel. Another track appeared on the Bassics magazine compilation album alongside tracks by Miles Davis bassist Marcus Miller and Joe Zawinul bassist Matthew Garrison. I participated in the 2003 European Bass Day in the Netherlands and contributed a track to a compilation album of bassists that played at this event including bassists Dominique Di Piazza and Norm Stockton.

My next album, Alkimia, is a world/jazz/fusion concept album. Alkimia is a magical journey through European, Eastern, and African music. It features some of the finest exponents of flamenco and world music including Jorge Pardo (flute) and Rubem Dantas (percussion), both of whom are current members of Chick Corea's band (Touchstone) and have been in Paco de Lucia's sextet since the 70's. Other performers include Juan Manuel Canizares (flamenco guitar), who also worked with Paco de Lucia in his different ensembles, Ben Sarfas (violin), Philippe Barnes (flute), Nan Mercader (percussion), and Chema Vilchez (flamenco guitar).

Gigs: Past gigs include Steve Howe (guitarist of Yes), Lisa Moorish, Beverley Martyn, Batu, Urubu, Byron Wallen, Gilad Atzmon (Ian Dury), Martin Shaw (Jamiroquai), Candela (flamenco), and Philippe Barnes (irish folk).

Present gigs include The Franc O'Shea Group, Alkimia, The Henry Vincent Group, and occasional bass master classes.

Recordings:
Solo records:
Esprit - 1999
Alkimia - 2006

With others:
Batu - Seasons of my Mind
Batu - Rebirth of Cool 2
Batu - Rebirth of Cool 4
Urubu - You Are You Be You
Brian Kellner Unleashed
Urubu - Freedom
Bah Samba - Carnival
Bah Samba - Reach Inside
Bah Samba - Black Blood
Bah Samba - Bah Samba
Basstalk 6
Robin Jones - Just Thoughts
Bassics Magazine - Issue No. 27

Gear:
Basses:
5-String Tobias Classic Fretless (rebuilt by luthier Jeff Chapman)
5-String Jeff Chapman Franc O'Shea Fretless and Fretted Basses

Pre-Amps and Effects:
TL Audio 5013 Valve Parametric Eq
TL Audio 5021 Valve Compressor
Lexicon MPX1 Digital Multi-Effects Processor

Power Amp and Speakers:
Mackie SRM450 Powered Monitors (run in stereo for concerts)

Strings:
Elites Stadium Series

Contact Information: You can check out my web site at FrancOShea.com for more information.