Introducing, Sam Porcaro!
A: I chose to attend LAMA because I wanted to further both my musical knowledge and playing ability. After a few years of community college, I decided that music school was the route I ultimately wanted to take. LAMA was the obvious choice of schools for me because I was already familiar with the school and bass department staff through my Grandpa.
A: The best part about studying music in LA is the opportunities that are around. I don’t mean solely in terms of gigs and players to meet, but also in terms of the different music scenes around town. In LA you have chances to go out to a club and check out your favorite players doing their thing. You can literally be at a place like the Piano Bar and people like Stevie Wonder or Prince randomly show up and play a set!
A: The entirety of the LAMA bass staff are amazing, it’s very hard to pick one as a favorite. Every one of them has so much to offer, whether it is technique with Jerry Watts, jazz with Steve Billman, rock with Tom Witt, blues with Doug Ross, or private lessons with David Levray. Each of them have their own way of teaching the curriculum, but there is a interconnectedness that helps to bring it all together in a way that is simple to understand and execute.
A: I started playing because I’ve grown up in a very musical family and environment. Some of my earliest childhood memories are being in the studio with my dad and all of the Toto guys while they were recording their album Tambu. From then on I always had an interest in music, however I didn’t start playing bass until many years later when my friends and I all decided we wanted to start a band. The only problem with that was that none of us played anything, so I decided I’d pick up the bass because it seemed like the natural choice to me.
A: After LAMA I plan to continue playing live and in the studio as much as I can. Playing live has always been something I’ve loved to do, whether it is with my band Maudlin Strangers or just as a sideman for solo acts. Thus far I’ve had some amazing opportunities such as playing with Edgar Winter and Mickey Dolenz of The Monkees. I can only hope that after finishing LAMA things will continue to move forward!
The LAMA bass department is something special and that’s in large part due to our wonderful collection of faculty members assembled by Bass Department Chair Jerry Watts Jr. We’d like to feature the bass instructors on this blog over the next couple weeks, beginning with Andre Berry.
Originally from Cleveland, OH, Andre moved to LA in 1985 to attend the Los Angeles City College Music Program, where he studied under Doc Simpson and Woody James. After four years of classes, he landed his first big road gig in 1989 with the Busboys. Andre then went on to join A&M Records recording artist Total Eclipse. Since then, he has performed and/or recorded with Dave Koz, George Duke, Warren Hill, Marcus Miller, Danny Jung, Jeffrey Osbourne, Tom Scott and the L.A. Express, Mindi Abair, Dave Benoit, The Brothers Johnson, Rick Braun, Peter White, Jeff Golub, Steve Ferrone, A Tribe Called Quest, Paul Jackson, Jr., and many others.
Andre offers playing tips on the LAMA youtube channel as well:
We are so proud to have Andre as a member of LAMA. To see information on all our other Bass faculty members please visit here. Watch Andre in action:
Timothy Bailey, Jr. talks about why he decided to study bass performance at Los Angeles Music Academy College of Music, what it’s like playing bass for Lalah Hathaway and advice for students looking for the right music school:
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