Winnipeg's Jazz Magazine

September/October 2011: Babs Asper

Luke Sellick

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Bassist Luke Sellick is emerging as one of the city’s most engaging new jazz voices. His boyish enthusiasm is balanced by great technique and sophisticated musicality. Now entering his fourth year in the Jazz Studies program, Luke was one of several students who spent some time in New York with Steve Kirby this summer.

Now you’ve visited Jazz Mecca. What was that like?

A lot of jazz players talk about the New York scene with a reverence that makes it seem almost otherworldly. I was able to talk to a number of musicians and get a clear perception of how they go about making a living and pursuing their art form. It’s encouraging and inspiring to see so many great players, and so much passion for music. However, it’s also somewhat daunting to see a quartet of world class musicians playing for five people in a pool hall…

Tell us about shopping for a bass at David Gage’s famous shop.

It was fantastic—and a little overwhelming! I was glad to have Steve there to help me narrow it down to a handful of basses we both loved. I ended up choosing the one that I felt sounded most like myself. It’s a new bass by a wonderful contemporary maker named Hannah Mayne. Having a great instrument is inspirational—now I’m starting to focus more than ever on little details to do with sound. I love the sound of the bass so much, and I want to make sure that I do everything I can to get the most out of it.

David Gage’s place is a destination for many of the greatest jazz and classical bassists in the world, and the walls are covered in signed photographs of the likes of Ron Carter, Dave Holland and Gary Karr. Being there was a reminder that, at this point, I’m basically shooting for the same things that those guys are. I guess I better get back to work!

What advice do you have for other young up-and-coming bass players?

I think that it’s important to constantly be finding the things that motivate you and make you excited about music, or even life in general. For me, when I hear Paul Chambers play “Visitation” or Edwin Barker play the Schubert “Arpeggione” Sonata, that gives me the momentum to get in the practice room and deal with all the non-negotiables like intonation, time and sound. I’m easily distracted, so if I don’t have that inspiration, I’ll lose direction pretty quickly. So I guess my advice would be find whatever it is in music that most speaks to you, and let that be your guide when practicing, organizing your schedule, and setting goals for the future. 

Where do you see yourself five years from now?

It’s difficult to imagine! I do however have a fairly clear idea of what I hope to sound like five years from now. If I can deal with that, I trust that opportunities will open up.

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