Taichung Jazz Festival Artist Spotlight:
By Douglas Habecker
Translated by Angela Cheng
Modern and traditional jazz encompasses a broad range of musical instruments, performers and styles. However, one of the most enduring images is that of the double bass player, embracing this giant instrument to produce its deep, soulful voice. Audiences at this year's Taichung Jazz Festival will have the privilege of enjoying one of the world's double bass masters, Eddie Gómez, who will have celebrated his 70th birthday just before performing in central Taiwan.
Born in Puerto Rico back in 1944, Eddie (Edgar) immigrated to and grew up in New York, picking up the double bass at the age of 11 and steadily progressing through a later graduation from Julliard. In the years and decades that followed, his talent and skill--marked by quick reflexes and flexibility--saw him performing with a host of jazz legends such as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Gerry Mulligan, Benny Goodman, Chick Corea, John Coltrane and Herbie Hancock. He received particular attention during the 11 years he spent with the Bill Evans Trio between 1966 and 1977, when two of the trio's recordings garnered Grammy awards.
Gómez's collaborations with a vast range of musicians and recordings is by no means limited to jazz, as his versatility has seen him also work with classical, rhythm & blues, popular and contemporary genres. The eclectic variety of artists/groups he has performed with include The Kronos Quartet, Tashi Ensemble, Japanese marimbist Mika Yoshida and clarinetist Richard Stoltzman in the classical realm, and Bobby Darin, Tim Hardin, Carly Simon, Art Garfunkel and Mark Knoffler for popular music.
Today, Gómez stays very active touring and recording with his own group, created in 1992 with pianist Stefan Karlsson and famed drummer Jimmy Cobb. If that weren't enough, he has continued to actively pass along his experience and skills to a new generation, serving in various educational roles at the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico, Berklee College of Music, and Oberlin Conservatory of Music, as well as a number of well-regarded European institutions.
Eddie Gómez will be performing at the 2014 Taichung Jazz Festival on Sunday, Oct. 26 at 8:15-9:30 p.m. on the Main Stage. For more information, check www.taichungjazzfestival.com.tw