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Jim Stinnett - October 2004

Jim Stinnett
Biography: I grew up in the woods of Oregon. My father drove a logging truck and played country-western music nightly. While I do not think of my youthful music education as formal, it was extensive. I began fooling around with the guitar at age seven, and my dad taught me to play "The House Of The Rising Sun." For the next few years, I dabbled with the guitar, bass, and drums. My musical memories are not clear until the age thirteen, when I got a new Gibson 335, and really started practicing. I began at this time to work, playing gigs regularly with my father as well as a few guys in a rock band. I bought an Epiphone bass from a neighbor for fifty bucks, and soon began to play guitar and bass in high school bands.

At this time, my influences were quite varied. I had been raised on Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, Hank Snow, Elvis, Charley Pride, and a host of other popular country players. Now I was digging Credence Clearwater, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Grand Funk Railroad, Buddy Miles, The Doobies, and many more. My last year in high school, I got heavily into Cold Blood, Blood Sweat And Tears, Chicago, and Santana.

When I arrived at Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon, I heard these guys playing this strange-sounding music, and I was hooked. When the music director asked what instrument I played, I responded with "bass." Now I was going to be jazz bass player. I immediately began buying albums by the jazz greats like Miles Davis, Oscar Peterson, John Coltrane, etc. Most of these records, I really did not enjoy. I could not seem to make sense out of this style of music. Fortunately, I also was exposed to Freddie Hubbard, Ron Carter, Billy Cobham, Hubert Laws, George Benson, and the whole CTI recording label gang. This music was much more palatable to me. It was the "new" jazz of the time. The new jazz was actually quite commercial and pop flavored, but most of the players were jazz greats playing great. This bridged the gap for me to get into straight-ahead jazz. I had also found a mentor who exposed me to the history of jazz by playing hundreds of "sides" from his extensive collection.

After attending one year of college and beginning to copy Ray Brown's lines, I knew I needed to learn to play the doublebass. In the summer of 1974, I attended a Jamey Aebersold camp in Illinois where I met Rufus Reid and Eddie Gomez. I came home, borrowed an upright bass, and began to thump and scratch.

From Oregon, I moved to Seattle where I would study with one of the most wonderful men in the world, the principal bassist of the Seattle Symphony, James Harnett. During my three years in Seattle, I was fortunate enough to play with and learn from a number of excellent musicians. This period of my life was when I became a professional jazz bassist.

In 1978, my wife and I moved to Denton, Texas so I could attend North Texas State University. My two years of touring with the 1:00 Lab Band allowed me to meet and work with many outstanding musicians. In Dallas, I had the opportunity to work with Red Garland. This experience inspired me to publish my first book, The Music Of Paul Chambers.

My next move in the pursuit of musical study was to Boston, Massachusetts and the New England Conservatory of Music. I studied bass with Ed Barker (BSO) for five years and graduated from NEC. During my first year in Boston, I began teaching privately at a nearby high school. By then, I had been teaching for a number of years and wanted to write my own teaching materials. I began using the handful of bass, drum, and guitar students I was teaching at the time, including Mike Gordon (Phish), as guinea pigs to try out my own methods. This resulted in my next three publications: Fundamental Technique For Electric Bass, Creating Jazz Bass Lines, and Reading In Bass Clef.

In 1986, I began my teaching career at Berklee College of Music. Today, I teach a wide variety of subjects at Berklee including: Arranging, Writing Skills, Walking Lines Labs, Reading Labs, Funk-Fusion Labs, Bass Performance Group, Practice Techniques, Survey of Bass Styles, as well as Private Instruction on both electric and acoustic bass.

One of my recent and most gratifying accomplishments is the creation of the Bass Workout. The Bass Workout is a three-day, intensive workshop designed for playing. Students from all over the world come to study and perform with professional musicians. The learning environment is highly motivational, and the interaction between faculty and students is electrifying. We have had outstanding results and growth as evidenced by the number of returning students.

My philosophy on teaching is that good teaching is a combination of what the students want to learn, what the teacher wants the student to learn, and what the student can actually handle. My job as a teacher is one of guide, encourager, and evaluator. I see myself as a coach. It is essential to learn to play by ear so we do a lot of transcribing. I have produced a series of practice cds to keep the ear involved when practicing. These play-alongs have become an integral part of my practice technique instruction. Nothing is as vital to growth as the repetition of material. Where does the motivation come from to develop the discipline required to practice consistently? Your dream. Every student is unique, and I teach to the individual's needs. Each year, I improve in my ability to clearly structure the plan for students' growth. I really do love teaching.

Teaching takes up most of my time, but I do complete two or three new projects each year. My three children are now as tall or taller than me. My daughter, Jessie, is in her first semester at Berklee College as a vocalist. My son, Grant, successfully completed Berklee's 5-week summer program a couple of months ago. Grant and I recently recorded together for the first time. Sarah, my youngest, plays most any instrument she picks up and is now beginning violin lessons. And, I am the luckiest man alive because my wife of twenty-six years is still my number-one fan.

Gigs: Some of my credits include performances with: Lionel Loueke, Greg Bissonette, Bob Sheppard, Joe Labarbera, Kenwood Dennard, Phineas Newborn Jr., Tal Farlow, Diane Shure, Ernie Watts, Red Garland, Kia Winding, Ernestine Anderson, Phish, John LaPorta, Roy Hanes, Gary Burton, The Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, The Florida Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra, Roy Clark, Jean-Pierre Rampal, and Sam Pilafian.

Guest Clinician/Performer: Mesa Community College, AZ - 2004
Guest Performance, Bass Lines: Berklee College, MA - 2004
Guest Lecturer/Performer, Bass Days: Berklee College, MA - 2004
Visiting Artist, Jazz Week: Arizona State University, AZ - 2003
Guest Lecturer: Holyoke Community College, MA - 2003
Guest Lecturer/Performer: Koybi, Japan; Osaka, Japan; Fuokoko, Japan; Tamana, Japan; Kyoto, Japan; Tokyo, Japan; Okasaka, Japan - 2003
Guest Lecturer/Performer: Arizona State University, AZ - 2002
Guest Lecturer/Performer: University Of New Hampshire, NH - 2002
Guest Lecturer/Performer: International Society Of Bassists Convention - 2001
Guest Lecturer/Performer: Arizona State University, AZ - 2001

Two Low: Rob Gourlay, Dom Moio, Lionel Loueke, Grant Stinnett - 2005
It's About Time: Joe Diorio, Sid Jacobs, Bill Moio, Dom Moio - 2004
Welcome To Our Clef: Sam Pilafian, Dom Moio - 2004
Afrizona: Lionel Loueke, Dom Moio, Rob Gourlay - 2005
Friends: Lionel Loueke, Joe Hunt - 2003
Quintology: Greg Hopkins, Bill Pierce, Mick Goodrick, Gary Chafee - 2002
Incantation: Lionel Loueke, George Garzone, Kenwood Dennard - 2001
Otherwise: Steve Rochinski, Donna McElroy, Chip Stevens, Joe Hunt - 2001
Souveniers: Dave Howard, Kenwood Dennard - 2000
Life Cycle: John LaPorta, Rick Peckum, Joe Hunt - 1999

The Music Of Paul Chambers, Stinnett Music - 1983
Creating Jazz Bass Lines, Stinnett Music - 1983
Fundamental Technique For Electric Bass, Stinnett Music - 1984
Reading In Bass Clef, Stinnett Music - 1986
Arcology - The Music Of Paul Chambers Vol. 2, Stinnett Music - 1998
Slap Bass Workout, Stinnett Music - 2000
Reading Bass Parts Vol. 1, Stinnett Music - 2001
Reading Bass Parts Vol. 2, Stinnett Music - 2002
Reading Bass Parts Vol. 3, Stinnett Music - 2003
PC3, The Music Of Paul Chambers Vol. 3, Stinnett Music - 2004
The Quarter Note Melody, Stinnett Music - 2005

Rob Allen MB2 5-String
Fodera Monarch Standard 4-String
Pedulla Thunderbolt 6-String
Brian Moore IM 5-String
Epiphone (1960)
Fender Jazz
Ibanez BTB 200
Juzek 3/4 Plywood Double Bass Violin
Walter Woods Amplifier
Eden Traveler Amplifier
Eden 4x10 Speaker Cabinet
Eden 18" Speaker Cabinet
Custom-Made 12" Speaker Cabinet
Power Mac G4 Tower
Power Book G4
Motif Rack Yamaha
M-Audio 49
Korg X-5
Studio Vision Pro
Digital Performer 4

Contact Information: For more inforamtion about me, go to