Performed at a private party last night with Rob Whitsitt and Bryan Hicks. I played lots of gigs with Bryan when I first came to Kansas City, but it had been a long time since we’d played together. Bryan has performed with Karrin Allyson, as well as Mike Melvoin, Bill Goodwyn, David Basse and many others.
Bryan was inspirational to me as a singer. He sings beautifully as well as being a great upright bass player. After seeing Bryan play and sing songs like “Cherokee” at break neck tempos, along with songs that required him to perform ostinatos while singing independent melodies over them, I knew that anything was possible.
With that in mind I began practicing singing “Summer Nights,” a song written by Larry Danza, an Army jazz musician friend of mine. This required me to play a bossa nova on the drums. Not exactly easy, but eventually I mastered it.
Upright jazz bassists who sing are rare. This inspired me as well, because I felt like this was one of the things that made Bryan so unique. I figured if an upright bass player can sing, so can a drummer. It inspired me to “dare to be different” in a world that encourages, and almost seems to demand conformity.
Bryan spent several years performing in Europe, which he said was a really great experience. He also told me that he’d been through some real heart breaking personal problems the last few years, but at this time of his life felt happier and more at peace than ever.
Bryan Hicks sounds fantastic to me. The years don’t seem to have aged his voice. If anything, it sounds better. He told me he’d been playing quite a bit of electric bass lately, and he’d just gotten the upright bass recently that he brought to the gig. That instrument, of course, sounded great as well.
You can catch Bryan live Sunday nights at YJ’s Snack Bar, 128 W. 18th Street Kansas City, MO 64108