Musician

SUMMARY OF PROFESSIONAL MUSICAL EXPERIENCE

Musician (bass, spoken word, performance art). Occasional performances with Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Keith Jarrett, Bill T. Jones, Captain Kangaroo, Tuli Kupferberg (Fuggs), Jemeel Moondoc, Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), and in Broadway musicals. Music educational and biographical essays published in leading reference books and journals. Appearances on nationwide television and radio. Taught privately--and at The Boston Conservatory, Berklee, Massachusetts College of Art, Northeastern University, and Boston Arts Academy. Served on the Board of Overseers at the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University. Twelve recordings, one video released.

September 17, 2005 Garden gig

On September 17, 2005 I was playing bass in a small park in downtown New York City with the Jus’ Grew Orchestra--some of the best jazz musicians alive today. The star of the evening was violinist Billy Bang, someone new to playing with the band. That night Bang took over: he was conducting, he was bringing friends up to sit in with the band, he was disappearing with beautiful women in the audience. The band leader, Jemeel Moondoc, decided to throw me into a musical duel with him. But I was in difficult straights. First Bang was arguably the best string player in jazz--his bow technique is killer good. And I was on bass (big-awkward) and Bang was on violin (small--facile). Always a gentleman, Bang thought he would start this musical contest by taking it easy with me before musically crushing me. He played a singing high jazzy phrase that made the people in front of us begin to dance. But now my bow began to glow with energy. I watched and listened as I unbelievably soared above him (me on the much lower bass). I took his beautiful phrase and turned it into a scream of ecstasy: It was still jazz, but it also was the Music of the Spheres; it was exploding clumps of Divine gamma rays, and it bested the violinist. The audience went wild and awarded me the loudest applause of the evening. You can hear all this on the attached audio clip from the concert. The set was over. Trumpeter Roy Campbell, trumpet, hugged me, saying “We’ll play together soon.” The drummer—I believe one of the best in jazz today, Chad Taylor (and also one of the most taciturn) said quietly under his breath “Yes John.” The meaning was clear: I had made it big time. Bang laughed, jumped up and down and forgetting that we had played together years ago asked, “How come I don’t know you?” He loved what I did. We bonded like musical blood brothers. He lightly kissed me on my cheek. The moral of this true story: The energy works! By controlling it with a focused Intention anything is possible. Anything! (sound clip)

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John Voigt as 1960’s avant-garde composer. “Bingo: Game of Change for Chorus of Elderly Women’s Voices and Five Contrabasses” is from my first recording, Music For Contrabass Quintet. It was recorded at a Church Bingo game in 1976. Click here for an excerpt

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OUTSIDER BASS

(I paint each cover separately) The first audio clip Contemplation of the Blue Egyptian Goddess uses overdubbing to explore natural harmonics on six string basses. The second audio clip Biker Bass is sort-of heavy metal rock for five basses--with me singing. All sounds are done on bass (like banging the bridge to get a drum sound, and using feedback to pretend I’m Jimi Hendrix).

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Here’s another audio clip of Thurston Moore (with drummer Laurence Cook, and me). “Fuzz Against Junk” - excerpt

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In 2000 I played the New York City Vision Festival with some of the finest players modern jazz has to offer. This audio clip comes from ”Moon Mode.”

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Buried deep in my subconscious is my alter-ego, a very strange dude by the name of "Little Jimmy K, the White Hipster." Often on gigs and recording sessions he bursts forth with a strange, neo-Beat-Bop tale. I just play bass at the same time he talks his jive. Little Jimmy K (audio clip) from Eric Zinman (Cadence Records 1187) - 2006

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audio clip "Blue Sky and Blotches" from MVP LSD: Graphic Scores of Lowell Skinner Davidson Joe Morris, John Voigt, and Tom Plsek (RitiRec 10) - 2009

"The opening moments of 'Blue Sky and Blotches' bathed in the light of Voigt’s bass harmonics, enter territory that [composer] Davidson’s mercurial pianism could only approximate. Voigt executes a series of shimmering tones, each containing a universe of satellite sounds that span the pitch spectrum, dyads and triads thickening the texture." Marc Medwin, dustedmagazine.com. 2009.

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On May 28. 2009  John was videotaped as part of Deep tones For Peace: "An individual and communal multidimensional meditation on the concept of living in harmony with each other. Deep tones swing, dance, pulsate whisper and roar when needed. They drone with polyphonic melodies on top of chromatic rhythms and three-dimensional harmonies--Only by acknowledging the dreams of others can our dreams come true."  William Parker.

video clip no.1

video clip no. 2

video clip no. 3

video clip no. 4

 

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QUOTES: "Jazz more than only music: Musicians regal, experienced, relaxed, in perfect harmony.... John Voigt with his super-modern sleek structured bass makes light as a feather dialogues with the drums, then trumpet....he [Voigt] says ‘There is much that's bad in the world, but even the worst hides sparks of divine light.' Here is music that celebrates the victory of life over death; [as Voigt mentioned] the victory of the glittering sparks over the darkness." -- Dachauer Nachrihten 12. March 2007.

“John Voigt's bass has developed into a loquacious and pleasing conversationalist through his fastidious attention to timbre and a wealth of experience” Elliott Simon, allaboutjazz.com, March 3, 2007. "In his hands the bass turns into a real talker, a mythical creature, a mouthpiece for the history of man. Voigt's very personal musical metaphors should not be missed." -- The Improvisor, 1993. John Voigt is "an avatar of creative music in Boston" -- Cadence, Dec. 1997. "Friday night brought one of the world's most inventively alive bass players to Seattle. Boston's John Voigt has done everything from transforming his instrument into a conduit for readings of the Kabbalah to wringing from its neck the scream of an electrocuted pickle." Bill White, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, July 2002. "A bassist-composer who writes a highly crafted music exquisitely fashioned for our instrument....An eclectic, experimental composer out of the [Charles] Ives mold." Bertram Turetzky, Bass World, vol. VIII, no. 1. [about Voigt CD Outsider Bass] "Offers a sonic delight comparable to a warm bath that tingles the pores and excites the mind to wander in a world of fantasy."--Gary Karr, contrabass soloist. "An incredible example that the bass can do it all -- if it's in the right hands." Richard Appleman, columnist for Bass Player, and Chair of the Bass Department, Berklee College of Music. John was bass player on these two award winning CDs: Top Ten 2001 Critics' picks [Best Jazz CDs of the Year]: Revolt of the Negro Lawn Jockeys. Gerald Futrich-- Coda, 300/301. Top Ten 1997 Critics' Picks [Best Jazz CDs of the Year]: Fire In The Valley. Steve Holtje--Jazziz, vol. 15/3.