Bobby Raymond, a native of Haiti, a bassist, composer, producer, and educator. Drawn to the bass as a teenager, He had various opportunities to experiment with Haitian music, American Jazz, Latin Jazz, Afro Cuban Jazz, and Haitian Jazz. He was fortunate enough to study with Jazz legends such as Reggie Workman, and Milt Hinton. He has been a pioneer in Haitian music Konpa (New Generation Style), also played Roots, Latin Jazz, Afro Cuban Jazz, and Haitian Jazz He performed and toured in bands all over the world led by many famous musicians such as: Bomba Azur, Sakad, Mystik, Zin, Phantoms, Lakol, Freres Duroseau (Nemours Jean-Baptiste), Raymond Sicot, Kiskeya Orchestra, Beethova, Eddy Francois, Boulo Valcourt, Patato, Mozayik, Buyu Ambroise, Reginald Policard, King Kino, Alan Cave, Ansy Derose, Emlyn Michel, Princess Lover, Jean-Luc Guanel, Tanya Saint Val, Shoubou, Coubano, Ralph Thamar, Jean-Philippe Marthely, Makarios Cesaire, Shedley Abraham, Markus Schrawtz. Currently he is working with various musical groups in the New York area.
Bobby, sat with HB and went into details about his life story as a bass player and shared some very good tips for inspiring bass players:
HB- Hi Bobby, How are you? Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk.
BR- Moses-- I would like to thank you for this opportunity and the important work you are doing for our community.
HB- So how long have you been playing bass?
BR- I have been playing music since I was very young. I was actually 13 years old when I started playing the bass.
HB- How did you start playing, and where did you study bass, or self-taught?
BR- I grew up listening to my father’s playing of the guitar and the accordion in Haiti. My father always had musician friends over at our house jamming. I would listen and watch very attentively and every opportunity I had, I picked up either the guitar or the accordion and tried to learn the songs I heard them play. When it came time for me learn an instrument, I picked the guitar and tried to learn it on my own. Since I have two older brothers who also play the guitar, I decided to switch to the bass guitar.
Now thirteen, I enrolled at the Muse, a neighborhood music school in Brooklyn. I signed up for lessons to study the acoustic and the electric bass. The Muse had an excellent staff which consisted of some of the best Jazz musicians around. I was a very young, curious musician and my curiosity did not stop at exploring the bass. I signed up for drum, saxophone lessons and, in addition, enrolled in a Jazz workshop. I had an opportunity to study bass with Jazz legends Reggie Workman and Bill Lee (Spike Lee’s father).
Once I got to high school, I joined the orchestra; there I played the upright bass.
While at Hunter College, I was hoping to get a degree in music but I ended up changing my mind. My major was in Sociology with a minor in music. With all the demanding requirements of pursuing a degree, I tried to take lessons here and there whenever possible.
Hunter College provided me an opportunity to join the Jazz Workshop led by Jazz legend Milt Hinton. Milt Hinton was the most gracious and giving human being I have ever met. Every conversation we shared turned into a music lesson for me.
With all that being said, I consider myself to be a self-taught musician.
HB- What were your inspirations and trials you ran into?
BR- My father was my biggest inspiration. Being musicians, we shared in many similar experiences, both good and bad. As you know, back then, our society did not look favorably at musicians in general. Once you have the title of “musician” associated with your name, you are labeled a “vagabond”.
Fortunately for me, my parents did not share that mentality. My father always encouraged me to follow my passion. My parents supported my decision to play music, as long as I did not neglect my education.
While I was in college, getting my Baccalaureate degree, I was also simultaneously working with Arsene Appolon’s band, AA Express which later changed its name to Astros. See picture below.
This opportunity was so irresistible to me that I decided to leave college to go on the road with the band. The chance to experience being on the road, playing music, seeing new places and meeting new people was the opportunity of a lifetime. I learned some of my life’s most valuable lessons on that tour. The pay was close to nothing and the constant discomfort seemed like a small price to pay. Even today when I look back at this time in my life, I would not change a thing.
After the tour was over, I had a reality check and started to think about my future. I decided to go back come back to New York to finish college and to play music locally.
I am forever indebted to my parents and their words of wisdom about the importance of education.
I went back to school and acquired the following degrees:
Master of Education - Supervision and Administration, Bank Street College of Education, New York, New York
Master of Arts and Science Education, Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, New York
Baccalaureate degree in Sociology, Hunter College, New York, New York
With all the time spent pursuing these degrees, music is and will always be number one in my heart. I would also like to take this opportunity thank my wife and children for their support
This CD made up of the some of the original members of Nemours Jn. Baptist. The creators of Konpa. (The first Haitian LP in sold in Japan)
The band was made up of Maestro Richard Duroseau, Ulrick Laguerre, Leconte Ville Valeix, Michel Laraque, Bobby Raymond, Kruetzer Duroseau (He invented BIDIBIDIPIM known as Konpa Direk), Frank Duroseau, Liautaud Domingue(Yafa), Kedner Rimpel, Guests: Tico Pasquet, Andre Dejean.
HB- What artists or bands have you performed with? Which one(s) you enjoy performing with the most?
BR- I have been blessed as a performer. I have had the privilege and opportunity to collaborate with many famous musicians /bands such as:
Evans Lespinasse, Khristine Raymond, Alan Cave, Buyu Ambroise, Ernst Marcelin, Leo Coltrane Marcelin, Michele Marcelin, Shedly Abraham,
Makarios Cesaire, Arly Lariviere, Mystik, Zin, Astros, Phanthoms, Lakol, Michael Celestin, Kalewes, Roro Ligonde, Melanie Charles, Les Freres Duroseau, Richard Duroseau, Andre Dejean, Kiskeya Orchestra, Jean Jean Pierre, Erna Letemps, Hebie Widmier, Raymond Sicot, Ansy and Yole Derose, Beethovas Obas, Emmanuel Obas, Emlyn Michel, Leon Dimanche, Jean-Claude Eugene, Myriame Dorisme, Gary Josama, Jean Michel Dodier, Jacky Lehrisson, George Kahara, Jakobo Abadja Zile, Aledgba Jahyle, Martine Maseille, Boulo Valcourt, Victor Surpris, Michel Blaise, Toto Laraque, Jean Caze, James Germain, Carlo Caludin, Ernst Bruny, Charles Dessalines, The Mighty Sparrow, Clinton Benoit, Jude Jean, Claude Marcelin, Madman JP, TiFane, Yvon Andre, Mario DeVolcy, Pauline Jean, Gashfod Guillaume, Duke Guillaume, Jermaine Jackson, David Piston, Father MC, King Kino, Michel Martelly, Robert Aaron, Willie Martinez, Bongo Bruno, Raymond Cajuste, Edward Richard, Alix Saintil, Willerm Delisfort, Sarah Charles, Allan Mednard, Jowee Omicil, Tantan, Ricardo Frank(Ti Plume), Gary French, Gary Josama, Farah Juste, Michel Le morin, Jocel Almeus, Jean Chardavoine, Dernst Emile, Taina Ligonde, Eddy Brisseau, Etcetera, Agoci, Ginou Oriol, Reginald Policard, Sakad, Eddy Francois, Carlos Patato Valdes, Mozayik, Princess Lover, New York All stars, Antoine Rossini Jean-Batiste (Ti Manno), Jean-Luc Guanel, Tanya Saint Val, Roger M.Eugene ( Shoubou) , Yves B.Joseph (Fanfan), Essud Funcap, Jean Elie Telfort (Cubano), Ralph Tamar, Jean-Philipe Marthely, Markus Schratz, Monvelyno Alexis, Riva Nyri Precil, Roland Cameau, Dadou Pasquet, Tico Pasquet, Tony Moise, Maryse Coulanges, Eddy Prophete, Guy Pageot, Welmyr Jean Pierre, Bomba Azur, Kajou, The Partners, Latino, Beatneaks, Assad Francoeur, Theodore Beaubrun (Languichatte Debordus), Accolade De New York, Lakol, Chris Fletcher, Smith Jean-Batiste, Michael Celestin, Naika. … The list goes on.
In terms of which ones I enjoy playing with the most? Each artist/band is unique. I equally enjoy the challenge of preparing for each performance and performing each and every one of the artists listed above. Each experience is unique and provides me with an opportunity to learn and grow musically and intellectually. I welcome every opportunity to play all genres of music with as many different artists as possible.
HB- What is your favorite piece of music?
BR- That is a very hard question. I enjoy music, whether it is Konpa, Jazz, Afro-Cuban Jazz, Haitian Jazz, Reggae, Blues, Alternative music, rock and roll… The list would be too long to mention. One day I will let you check out the different genres of music I have in my phone and let you decide.
HB- What is the biggest thing to recommend any bass player at any level?
BR- Being a bass player is not easy; every bassist deals with new challenges in regards to mastering new playing techniques and combining them together with harmony, rhythm, and style.
Bassists should always set goals for themselves to upgrade their playing skills, develop their musical skills, and repertoire.
Below please find my recommendations:
1) Practice technical exercises. Start with basic and easier exercises and progress to harder and more complex exercises. Then go back to the easier ones.
2) Every bass guitarist must eventually learn how to read and write notes. Learn to read the notes in the bass clef and eventually in the treble clef. The remaining literature that can be useful for a bass guitarist is written mostly in the treble clef.
3) You have to know and memorize harmonic symbols. If you wish to play and write a bass solo or a bass line, you have to know what a harmonic symbol Cm7, from which you then pass over to D7/9, means.
4) Ear training is very important. Having good ears and hearing the notes means that you hear the root and other harmonic symbols and scales. While you practice the bass guitar you should also sing the notes. Then you put down the bass guitar and just sing the notes.
5) Educate yourselves constantly. Take lessons if you can. The internet is a great resource; make use of it and all of the music software out there.
6) When playing, do not rush or fall behind. Your role as time keeper means that you have to be on time (in the pocket) when you play or practice. It happens often that some members of the music group enter the measure too late or too soon. Rehearse with a metronome and in the beginning count the measures.
7) When rehearsing, use the correct positioning of the hands, fingers, movements and the bass guitar. When playing, don’t be tense – be relaxed at all times.
Spend as much time as you can with your instrument to practice and to learn as many new techniques as you can. When you have the dexterity, discipline and technique necessary to get the job done, there is no limit to what you can achieve.
HB- When buying a bass, what do you look for in the bass?
BR- Depends on whether you are buying and upright bass, 6 string, 5 string, 4 string, Acoustic electric, and most importantly what kind of sound you are looking or what style of music you intend on playing with that instrument.
If I were in the market to buy an electric bass, I would start by asking myself with the following questions:
What is my Purpose and Budget?
What Bass Construction and Design am I looking for?
What Types of Bass Necks am I looking for?
What Bass Scale Lengths am I looking for?
What Electric Bass Body Types am I looking for?
What style Bass Bridges am I looking for?
What style Pickups am I looking for? Single-Coil or Humbucker
What Electronics am I looking for? Passive vs. Active
How Many Strings am I looking for?
Am I looking for Fretless Basses?
Am I looking for Bass Tone woods?
Which Bass is Right for Me?
Purpose and Budget
Bass guitars vary widely in quality and price, so before you start your search, determine how much you want to spend.
For beginners unsure of their talent or dedication to learning to play the bass, there are many good, affordable “starter” basses available. These instruments tend to have lower quality hardware and electronics, but they are typically very playable and will serve a new bassist well through the early stages of learning and performing with the instrument.
However, more experienced or dedicated players may want to set their sights a little higher, and invest in a bass guitar with richer tonewoods, better electronics, and upgraded hardware. A higher-quality bass will sound better, feel better, and serve a musician longer.
Bass Construction and Design
It’s important to have a good understanding of the basic parts of a bass guitar before you start shopping. Understanding how the instrument is designed and built, and knowing what the different parts are called will help you ask good questions and make informed decisions.
Let us examine the anatomy and parts of an electronic bass guitar:
The neck of a bass guitar, like the neck of any guitar, includes the headstock, fretboard and internal truss rod, which connect to the body of the bass.
The headstock is the wide portion at the top of the neck, where the bass strings terminate at tuning pegs. These tuning pegs—also called tuning keys, tuning machines, or tuners—adjust the tension of each string, changing the pitch. The strings are routed down the neck by the nut—a notched strip of hard plastic or bone attached to the top of the fretboard where the headstock meets the rest of the neck.
The fretboard or fingerboard is usually a thin piece of wood— typically rosewood, maple, or ebony. All are excellent woods for the purpose but can vary in quality. The best fretboards are smooth, hard, and dense so that they wear slowly. Fretboards are usually arched from side to side. This arch is called the radius, referring to an imaginary circle that would be formed if the arch of the fretboard were extended to make a circle. Some bass fretboards are close to flat, while others may have a radius as short as ten inches. The shorter the radius, the more pronounced the arch of the fretboard. The fretboard is embedded with frets which are narrow strips of metal. These frets divide the neck into half-step increments, and determine where each note is played along the length of the neck.
A few electric basses are fretless, allowing smoother glissando effects but also requiring greater skill on the part of the bassist. They’re not usually a good choice for beginning bassists.
Some basses have fretboards that are an integral part of the neck rather than being a separate glued-on layer.
Inside the neck is a metal truss rod that helps prevent the neck from bending or twisting. Bass strings are thicker than guitar strings and create a lot of tension on the neck. Truss rod adjustments allow the neck to be straightened if it becomes bowed or twisted, and are also used when adjusting string height for optimal playability.
Types of Bass Necks
There are three kinds of bass guitar necks, their names indicating the manner in which the neck attaches to the body:
• Bolt-on neck
• Set neck
• Thru-body neck
Most basses have bolt-on necks, which mean the neck is bolted onto the body. The bolts should keep the neck stable and not allow it to shift up or down. A solid, tight connection between the neck and the body is essential. It is also good to have more rather than less overlap of neck and body for greater stability, better string vibration transfer, and enhanced sustain.
Some bass guitars have set necks, meaning the neck is attached to the body with a mortise or dovetail joint rather than being bolted to it. A set neck creates better resonance and sustain, but can be more difficult to adjust.
Thru-body necks are found on higher-end bass guitars. This type of neck continues as one continuous piece through the body. Wings are attached to each side of it to form the upper and lower parts of the body. With a thru-body neck there is no joint between the neck and body that can inhibit vibration, resulting in better response and sustain.
Bass Scale Lengths
Scale is the length between the nut (the notched piece between the fretboard and the headstock) and bridge where the strings are anchored at the tail end of the body. The most common scale length is 34".
There are a few short-scale basses, such as the Fender Mustang, various Hofner Violin Bass models, or the Gibson EBO, that are around 30". These are a good choice for young players with small hands who may have trouble playing a standard-size instrument.
A long-scale neck usually has a 35" scale. This longer scale gives you a few more frets, and is most often used for five- and six-string basses because it improves string tension and minimizes floppiness on the low strings.
Electric Bass Body Types
Solid body basses are the most common type. In better instruments, these bodies are often made of a solid piece of wood—alder, maple, swamp ash, mahogany, or some other wood that transfers vibration well. In lower-priced basses, the bodies may be made using laminated wood plies, softer woods, or pressed woods. There are even basses with plastic bodies.
Hollow body basses, as you probably guessed, have a hollow body like an acoustic guitar but use the same magnetic pickups as solidbody basses. They are used mostly by jazz and folk players, and for music that is quieter and requires a more acoustic-like tone. A famous hollowbody, the Hofner violin-shaped "Beatle" bass, is an example of a hollowbody used for rock music. Hollowbody basses have the advantage of being lighter, but they usually are more limited in the volume they can produce because they feed back more easily than solidbody basses at high volume. There are also a few semi-hollowbody basses that have a solid center block and hollow outer halves of the body. They are less prone to feedback.
Another type of hollowbody bass is the acoustic-electric. This is really an acoustic instrument built similarly to an acoustic guitar and usually equipped with a piezo pickup that allows it to be amplified. Most often the piezo pickup is located under the bridge, while an onboard preamplifier allows tonal adjustments when the bass is amplified.
The bass guitar’s strings terminate at the bridge, where their vibrations are transmitted to the body creating the resonance and tone that the pickups capture and amplify. The strings pass over notches, called bridge saddles, which can be moved up and down to adjust the action, or forward and back to adjust the intonation. Better bridges are made of brass, and are often plated with chrome or nickel silver. A bridge with more mass and weight will usually anchor the strings better and transfer more vibration from the strings to the body.
There are three different bridge types on most electric bass guitars:
• String-through body
• Bridge and tailpiece combination
On a through-bridge, the strings are threaded through the back of the bridge, and over the saddles. On a string-through body bridge the strings are fed through the body of the bass and over the saddles. A bridge and tailpiece combination feeds the strings through a separate tailpiece that’s unconnected to the saddles.
Pickups: Single-Coil or Humbucker
Pickups are electromagnetic devices that capture the sound created by the vibrating strings and body of the bass, converting it to an electronic signal. Most bass guitars have two sets of pickups to provide a greater tonal range. Pickups nearer the fretboard have a smooth, low-end sound, while the pickups closer to the bridge have an edgy, mid- to high-end tone.
The most common types of pickups are single-coil and humbuckers, and most others are simply variations on one of these two types.
Single-coils were the first kind of pickups and the most simple. Each pickup has only one coil and one magnet, which creates a bright, focused sound. Single-coil pickups can be noisy, however, which is why humbucking pickups were developed.
Humbucking pickups were created in an effort to cancel the hum or noise of the single-coil, but they also have a fatter sound in addition to being more noise-free. The humbucker sound can get muddy at higher volumes though.
One common variation is the split-coil (the design found on the Fender Precision Bass). It is a single-coil wired to function like a humbucker. Two halves of the pickup are separated and one side is reversed in polarity to the other. Thus, you get a tone that is closer to the single-coil sound, but with the quietness of the humbucker.
Electronics: Passive vs. Active
The terms active and passive refer to the preamp circuitry of the bass. The preamp boosts the pickups’ output and provides tone-shaping controls.
Passive preamp systems operate without any power source and have fewer controls, usually a volume knob, a tone knob, and a blend control if there are two pickups. One advantage of the passive bass is that it doesn't depend on a battery that can die in the middle of a gig. Another plus is the simplicity of operation. Passive electronics have a more traditional low-fi sound that some players to the hi-fi sound of active electronics.
Active basses need power, usually provided by an onboard battery. The advantage of an active preamp system is stronger output and more control over tone shaping. Active basses often have separate EQ controls divided into frequency bands, such as a low-, mid-, and high-frequency boost/cut controls. They can also have contour switches which instantly reshape the EQ profile. Some have controls that let you change the wiring of your pickups on the fly from series to parallel for dramatic tonal shifts. A coil tap switch found on some basses with active electronics deactivates one set of coils in a humbucking pickup to make it sound like a single-coil.
How Many Strings?
Four-String Bass Guitars
Most bass guitars have four strings and new players should probably start with a four-string bass. These basses are perfectly adequate for most musical styles, and the necks are smaller than those on five- and six-string basses, making them easier to handle and learn with.
Five- and Six-String Bass Guitars
Five-string basses add a lower B string, giving the instrument a deeper range. The neck of a five-string bass is necessarily wider than a four-string, making it a little harder to play. Five-string basses are popular with some hard rock, metal, fusion, and jazz bassists.
Six-string basses have an even more extended range due to their low B string and high C string. Six strings require a wider neck yet, which can be difficult for many players to handle. Though challenging, they’re ideal for bass players who do a lot of soloing as they widen the range and provide room for greater creativity.
Standard bass guitars have fretted necks, with metal frets dividing the fingerboard into half-step increments. These frets make it easy to see where each note is played on the neck.
A fretless bass, however, has a smooth neck, similar to an upright bass or violin. Hitting the right notes with the right intonation is challenging and not for beginners. Fretless bass players rely on muscle memory and a well-trained ear. They choose the fretless bass for its smoother, warmer sound and its ability to provide glissando effects like a standup acoustic bass.
The type of wood that is used in the body of the bass guitar will impact its tone and resonance. New players don’t need to be too concerned with the type of wood used for their bass guitar body. But if you are looking for a specific sound from your bass, then the body wood could be an important factor.
Alder: is often used for bass guitar bodies. It creates a very balanced tone, with great clarity and a very full sound.
Agathis: is a popular body wood because it is relatively inexpensive. It provides a fairly balanced tone with a slight emphasis on low-mid tones that gives it a rich sound.
Ash: There are several species of ash used on bass guitar bodies, with subtle differences, but in general the wood produces a bright, full sound, similar to alder. Swamp ash is especially desirable due to its beautiful grain.
Basswood: Frequently used on less expensive instruments, it is a softer wood that does not resonate as much as other tonewood options. Some bass players think this creates a flat sound, while others feel the short sustain is ideal for fast, complex playing techniques.
Mahogany: is a popular tonewood for bass guitars because it produces a soft, warm tone that emphasizes the low-mid and lower-range tones, and creates longer sustain. It is a dense wood, however, and will feel heavier on your shoulder than ash or agathis.
Maple: is also a dense wood, so it creates a well-sustained sound like mahogany. Maple, however, produces a bright, clear tone that many musicians find valuable in a studio setting.
Many other woods are used for bass bodies. High-end models may be made of exotic species such as bubinga, wenge, koa, or cocobolo.
So Which Bass is Right for Me?
Here are a few guidelines (not rules) for the first-time bass buyer:
• Buy the best bass you can afford. A good bass will make learning easier and you won't outgrow it as quickly.
• Choose a fretted instrument, unless you are ready for the challenge of a fretless.
• Choose a short-scale bass if you are young, small, or have unusually small hands.
• For simplicity's sake, choose a 4-string instrument.
• Select a bass with simple controls so you can focus on the strings and not be distracted by knobs.
• Choose a bass in a color and shape that appeals to you. Its looks won't make it sound better, but a cool-looking bass can motivate you to play more.
I hope this guide was helpful for anyone who maybe in the market to buy a bass.
Bobby Raymond and Khristine Raymond performing : Frantz Schubert Symphonie No 1 in D Major
HB- Do you have a favorite song?
BR- It depends on the genre of music in question. I love and listen to all styles of music, ranging from konpa, classical, jazz, funk, blues, rock, and beyond.
HB- Who are your favorite bassists?
BR- Wow! I would like to start by thanking all the great bass players who came before me and paved the way for me musically.
I suppose favorites can change based on the genre and style of music in question. I am constantly listening for innovative players. In addition, I listen for, melodically, and thoughtfully constructed, complex bass lines that aren't complicated. Most often, those catchy bass lines are not always easy to play, but they never feel like the bassist is trying too hard or to fit more in than should be there. I know and love many bass players for different reasons. The list would be too long to list.
HB- How different is it from playing a guitar and a bass, please explain?
BR- The simplest difference between guitar and bass guitar is the pitch range of the instruments. Bass guitar plays notes an octave lower than a regular guitar.
The next difference is the role the instruments play in a group. Traditionally, bass guitar plays a supportive role along with the drummer to create the pulse of the music and set the music's foundation
Guitar, with its higher range, also plays a supportive role and solos are more common on guitar. Traditionally guitar is a bit more out front and in the spotlight. But, the bass is very critical in a band. You will see many bands without guitarists and without drummers, but not many without a bass player. The bass guitar in my opinion plays a very important role in a band. Furthermore, the bass still has all the same possibilities as the guitar. You can solo and play many things like a guitarist does.
My main instrument is bass; I used the guitar mostly when I am composing. Playing the Six String Bass brings me closer to both instruments as it pertains to range, texture and possibilities.
HB- You play different genre, konpa, jazz and others, which one are you more comfortable with?
BR- That is very flattering of you to say.
I think the question for me is with whom I have the pleasure of playing.
First I listen, practice and learn the band’s/artist’s repertoire. Once I know the repertoire, then I am comfortable with it.
Buyu Ambroise & The Blues in Red Band
I have had the honor of sharing the stage with the following musicians/bands who play different genres of music:
Buyu Ambroise (Haitian Jazz)
Shedly Abraham (Funk, Fusion, RB, Jazzy Konpa)
Makarios Cesair (Funk, Fusion, RB, Jazzy Konpa)
Roland Cameau (Funk, Fusion, RB, Jazzy Konpa)
Markus Schwartsz and Monvelyno Alexis (Haitian Jazz/Vo-duo, Rasin + Jazz)
Zin (New Generation Konpa),
New York Allstars (Modern Konpa / New Generation Konpa)
Skah Shah de Cubano (Konpa)
Etcetera (Modern Konpa)
HB- Are you still active in the music scene, if yes what are you up to?
BR- I am gigging mostly and recording with various artists such as:
Buyu Ambroise , Shedly Abraham, Makarios Cesair, Roland Cameau ,Markus Schwartsz , Monvelyno Alexis, Riva Nyri Precil, Zin, Skah Shah de Cubano, Etcetera, Agoci, Eward Richard, Alix Saintil, Viscor Surpris, Camille Austin, Taina Ligonde, Roro Ligonde, Alegba Jahyile, Duke Guillaume, Junior Bazile, Boulo Valcourt, Beethova Obas, Jocel Almeus and many more.
HB- What is your view of the current Haitian music scene?
BR- It is very different from the 90’s when I played with Zin. There were a lot of New Generation styles of music being created. There were lots of Haitian venues available for bands to play, on a weekly basis. I miss those days.
Bobby Raymond, Ismael Bongo Bruno, Ismael "Bongo" Bruno, Evelyn Alicea, Ana Amaro, Linda Valle, Robert Aaron, Ricardo Pons and Steven Gluzband at Mo Better Blues, 88th street and Amsterdam Ave. NYC 1994)
HB- What is your advice to a new young bass player?
BR- Besides being punctual being prepared, and being open to new ideas.
1) Practice technical exercises.
2) Every bass guitarist must eventually learn how to read and write notes.
3) Learn the harmonic symbols, know and memorize them.
4) Ear training is very important. Having good ears and hearing the notes means that we hear the root and other harmonic symbols and scales. Sing the notes as our practice.
5) Educate yourselves constantly. Take lessons if you can. The internet is a great resource, make use of it.
6) When playing, do not rush or fall behind. Rehearse with a metronome and in the beginning count the measures.
7) When rehearsing, use the correct positioning of the hands, fingers, movements and the bass guitar. When playing, don’t be tense – be relaxed at all times.
HB- Anything you wanted to say, I did not ask?
BR- I feel blessed and fortunate to have been part of several musical groups who have made an impact on the landscape of Haitian Music. One such group is Mystik, under the musical direction of Maestro Dernst Emile. Maestro Emile led the way of this new genre of music which later on influenced a lot of newer styles of Haitian Music. Mystik was a continuation of the group Shleu Shleu whose members at the time were Tony Moise, Edward Richard, Reynold Cadet, Georges Andre, Patrick Saintil, Clovis, Peddy Pierre-Charles, and Alix Saintil. I was lucky to be one of the four additional new members added to the group, along with Erick Charles, Evans Lespinasse, and John-Bob Castel.
BR- Thanks again for this opportunity Moses, God Bless all of your readers and God bless Haiti and Haitians living all over the world.