On the Record - Brian Perry

Bassist Brian Perry sheds light on the mysteries of the double bass and the transformative experience of summer music festivals.



The Punch Brothers:  “Familiarity” from The Phosphorescent Blues

“I just am amazed by the creativity that these guys have… I like the percussiveness of how the instruments are played in many respects and the blend with something that’s more bowed and it just has so much depth in terms of instrumentation.  But beyond that, one of the things that Chris Thile is known for… is the almost sort of compositional way he writes this music.  That particular tune just has so many different sections.  It flows from one to another, there’s groove based sections, there’s beautiful chorale type textures.  I just think it’s so beautiful and he gets such wonderful moods out of his music.”


Bach: Unaccompanied Cello Suites, Performed on Double Bass by edgar meyer

“He has these ridiculous classical chops and a very unique sound.  The style is so pure when you’re listening to him play.  There’s almost minimal vibrato, but just absolutely impeccable intonation… I think he’s just this person that takes all kinds of music in and gets inspiration out of trying to learn new projects, whether if it’s with Zakir Hussain, who’s this Indian music drummer, or all of these wonderful people and crossover artists have informed him.  His Bach, for me, really captures the spirit of true dance.”


Mahler: Symphony No. 6 in A Minor, III. Andante moderato

“Playing this piece and performing this piece is when I met my wife, Katherine…  Mahler 6 was one of my first big Mahler symphonies to put together with a sizeable and wonderful orchestra and so just the magic of that experience, plus meeting Katherine at that time, we’ve always felt like that was our song of sorts.  It’s beautiful.  The melody kind of unfolds, and it’s gorgeous, but it also has a bit of funniness to it.  You start singing the melody, and you think it’s going somewhere and then there’s some accidentals in there that totally change the direction that you think it’s going to go, and I’ve always felt like that little bit of quirkiness is perfect.”


Queen: “Seaside Rendezvous” from A Night At The Opera 

“This tune reminds me so much of the perfect influence of the Beatles and what was going on in rock and roll at that time.  I just find this to be such clever, fun music. I’m just floored by their use of the phasing in the different channels and all of the back and forth.  Complete mastery.  It’s just a wacky tune but has all of these perfect little things… The fun and the humor associated with this particular tune really makes it stand out to me.”


Future Islands:  “Ran” from The Far Field

“Future Islands is just this really cool, I guess you could call them a pop band, that to me signifies a lot of nostalgia, growing up in the 80’s.  There’s a lot of heavy synthesizer there… It was one of those musical things where I didn’t know them from Adam until a few years ago, and someone had posted a scene from David Letterman’s show right before he retired.  I watched some of that and was just astounded…. They were playing one of their tunes called ‘Seasons’, and you’ve never seen David Letterman react to his musical guests this way.  He was, at the end of it, just completely blown away by them and you could just see the earnestness in which he was thanking them.  It was the same kind of effect they had on me was what they had on him.”


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