The Oberlin Review

From the Bass to Baseball: Perfecting the Right Pitch

Luke Sprecher

September 14, 2018

Most Oberlin students arrive on campus at age 17 or 18, but Ian Ashby — first-year Conservatory student — familiarized himself with the College when he was 12 years old. He played baseball competitively in his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA until he was in seventh grade, when his father accepted a position as a Jazz arranging professor in the Conservatory and his family moved to Oberlin. Every Wednesday, 12-year-old Ashby would practice his pitch on the red dirt of the old Dill Field while his dad, Jay Ashby, would teach a class. Dill Field has since been renovated — the classic dirt was switched out for a sleek turf diamond — but nowadays when he steps on the mound, he does so as an Oberlin varsity at...

Dirty Projectors Double Bassist Nat Baldwin Proves Awkward but Engrossing in Solo Performance

Willa Rubin

October 4, 2013

Nat Baldwin, bassist in Dirty Projectors, used a double bass and a bow to share his reflections on some important themes last Wednesday at the Cat in the Cream. Baldwin, on tour in support of his upcoming album People Changes, reflected on growing up, feeling empty inside, finding oneself and discovering how to connect to others during his sparse, mellifluous set. If you know Baldwin, it’s probably because of his work with his main act, whose most recent full-length effort, Swing Lo Magellan, landed on several year-end best-of charts in 2012. If not, you’ve likely heard him before: He has contributed songwriting and bass playing to other bands in the alternative and folk scenes, including Vampire Weekend and ...

Rufus Reid Inspires Bass Fans on Campus Visit

Meghan Farnsworth, Staff Writer

March 16, 2012

Renowned bassist and self-taught composer Rufus Reid came to Oberlin from March 8–10 to teach a series of master classes. He advised jazz musicians, bass players and classical composers in subjects involving instrumental technique, musicality and living as a working composer. His visit culminated in a performance of the Oberlin Jazz Ensemble featuring Reid as a soloist. Reid is a performer turned teacher and composer. After years of studying and earning a degree in double bass performance at Northwestern University and performing with artists like Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie and Bill Evans, he has decided to educate the next generation of musicians in jazz and classical music. He is the co-founder of the jazz studies...

Thundercat’s Roar Tamed by Finney

Meghan Farnsworth, Staff Writer

February 17, 2012

A bassist needs to dance sometimes, musically speaking. Not the kind of dancing where the listener feeds off the music’s vibes and pulsations in bodily, almost maniacal gestures, but instead in an equally visceral playing style that not only reacts to, but creates rhythm. Enter Thundercat who made his Oberlin debut this past Friday in Finney Chapel thanks to the Oberlin Jazz Society. The artist is none other than Stephen Bruner, legendary bass player for Flying Lotus and Erykah Badu. Performing songs from his solo album The Golden Age of Apocalypse,Bruner treated the audience to an impressive and intimate jam session of a concert. Brandishing his bright red six-string bass and metallic gold shoes, he displayed his abil...

Grammy Winner Spalding Delivers Pristine Performance in Finney Chapel

Dan Stein

March 18, 2011

Last Wednesday, jazz singer/bassist and Best New Artist Grammy winner Esperanza Spalding treated Oberlin to a concert with her band, the Chamber Music Society, at Finney Chapel. The night was mostly comprised of songs from Spalding’s new album Chamber Music Society, an eclectic, classically-influenced record that serves as a dramatic departure from her funkier and more pop-oriented debut, Esperanza. During a pre-show Q&A with students at the Kohl Building, Spalding described Chamber Music Society as “different from what we were doing two years ago — I’m not egging the audience on to like it. The concert is really quiet, and the reaction is totally different ... it’s conceptual and sometimes people get i...

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