Bassist Reggie Washington was born into a musical family in 1962. Reggie’s first musical experiences were with his brother Kenny (a drummer, jazz historian and radio personality), with whom he played congas and bongos performing in talent competitions and NYC clubs as “The Washington Brothers.” He moved on; studying cello privately on a music scholarship and playing in several orchestras (Youth Symphony, All-City, All-State, All-Eastern USA Youth Orchestras). A highlight in Reggie’s young career was performing with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra for four years under conductors Zubin Mehta, James Levine, Morton Gould and Claudio Abbado. While at the High School of Music and Art, he switched to acoustic bass at the insistence of conductor Anthony Diaz. It was the best decision ever made for him!
Reggie studied bass classically with William Blossom (NY Philharmonic), jazz with Paul West (Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Williams) and afro-cuban with Victor Venegas (Fania All-Stars). The electric bass came along after spending many musical nights at home with his brother and Marcus Miller.
Over the last 20+ years, he has amassed recording, collaborating and/or touring credits with a diverse and talented melange of artists: Cassandra Wilson, Don Byron, Oliver Lake, Ronnie Cuber, Buddy Williams, Lester Bowie, World Saxophone Quartet, Steps Ahead, Will Smith, Arthur Blythe, M-Base Collective, Meshell N’degeocello, Ute Lemper, Jean-Paul Bourelly, Uri Caine and Cheick-Tidiane Seck. He has performed at almost every jazz and music festival worldwide with award winning artists such as Roy Hargrove, Branford Marsalis, Steve Coleman and Chico Hamilton.
In 2005 Reggie became a leader, and in 2006 he released his debut CD “A Lot Of Love, LIVE!”—recorded at two live concerts with saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, drummer Gene Lake and Belgian musicians (saxophonist) Erwin Vann and (drummer) Stéphane Galland. Reggie has been touring with his bands through Europe, playing sold out clubs all across Europe, UK and the USA. As a leader, Reggie has performed to very receptive and appreciative audiences at such festivals as Audi Jazz Festival, JVC Jazz Festival, London Jazz Festival, Blue Note Records Festival, Prishtina Jazz, Villa Celimontana Fest, IG Jazz Festival, Jazz Contreband and Jazz en Nord.
Reggie was profiled in Bass Player Magazine in 2007, and was among the winners of the Rising Stars electric bassist category in the DownBeat Magazine’s 2008 Critics’ Poll. He was also featured in the April 2008 issue of Jazz Times Magazine in an article entitled “Overdue Ovation; Groove Instincts.”
Teaching and passing on knowledge has been an interest and passion for Reggie giving private instruction and workshops at the Conservatory of Music in Antwerpen, EZart Music Conservatory in Arnhem and the Institute of Music Performance in London. In August 2008, he participated in Sligo Jazz Project in Ireland as the electric bass instructor and was a featured artist for the Jazz Fest. Participation in Bass Day UK ’07 was a personal highlight in his music career.
Reggie explains how he discovered Markbass: “My first time really checking out Markbass equipment was at Bass Day UK ’07, and talking with Jeff Berlin. He told me, “You should check these guys out. Whatever you have now, great—but you should check these guys out.” I could hear and feel my entire Woody bass. That’s special from an amp… and I had to check these guys out! Buono lavoro Markbass!!”
photo: Olivier Lestoquoit