Bass player Steve Beskrone is one of the legends of Philadelphia music. There are folksongs celebrating him, how before he was 30 he was a veteran of both Ray Charles’ and Horace Silver’s bands. Beskrone played in Pat Martino’s band recently, a notoriously bad showcase for bass players.
Skrone was the first guy I heard in Philly who was playing solos on a stringed instrument that I thought not only had all the harmonic content of what the horn (and piano) players had, but also a way of totally using everything about the instrument to its fullest expressive potential. He didn’t just play notes. He bent them, finessed them, vibratoed ‘em. Still does. He’s still one of the most no-joke guys you can go see. He’s also become one of the most effective and respected jazz performance teachers in town. He is, as the French say, very serious.
Here he is on Saturday Night Live with Ray Charles in 1977. Sadly, he no longer has eith the Ronald McDonald afro nor the fu manchu mustache. Note also that Ray reunited his original horn section for this one. Those of you who think you know all the great bari sax players are urged to humble yourselves before Hog Cooper.
But he still walks with a pocket so deep you can hide a Buick under his D string. THAT is what I mean by Philly music.
NEXT TUTORIAL: “Punk Rock Girl” as local punk anthropological document, and why did Bob Dickie (another amazing bassist), who produced the two greatest Philly punk era albums only produce two albums?
If anyone knows where to get in touch with Tricia who went in the Navy in 1981, email me.