Gary Willis

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After almost fifteen years of co-leading Tribal Tech with guitarist Scott Henderson, and their eight critically acclaimed CD's, (the ninth, Thick, will be released in Feb. 1999) Willis launched his solo career with the September 1996 release of No Sweat, featuring incredible performances by Dennis Chambers on drums, Scott Kinsey on keyboards, and Steve Tavaglione on woodwinds and EWI. For Bent, in addition to Chambers, Kinsey and Tavaglione, Willis adds the fiery tenor of Bob Berg and long time Tribal Tech cohort/drummer Kirk Covington. Bent lives up to its title and takes the "rules" of jazz, through dynamic compositions and rythmn-defying improv, and bends reality to fit the talent of easily the most musically monsterous lineup on the scene today. Despite its all-star cast, any listener expecting the self-indulgent "chop fest", is instead treated to great musicians playing tastefully, musically, and unselfishly.

The fans Willis has won through the years, playing with musicians like Wayne Shorter, Allan Holdsworth, Hubert Laws, Joe Diorio, Robben Ford, and Wayne Johnson, not to mention Tribal Tech, will be amazed yet again by the bassist that Bass Player magazine referred to as "one of the most vital bass voices of the 90's." UK's Bassist magazine called Willis "one of the finest (bass players) on the planet."

The Texas native, who currently resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, studied composition and improvisation as part of the legendary jazz program at North Texas State University. It was there that he switched to bass after years of guitar & bass study. After moving to Los Angeles in '82 he became a course leader at Musicians Institute in Hollywood and taught at the prestigious California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California. In 1993, Warner publications released Bass Lessons with the Greats, which includes a chapter on Willis' unique approach to improvisation. His hour-long educational video entitled Progressive Bassics features discussion of his unconventional technical and fingerboard harmony concepts. Hal Leonard Publications recently published his Fingerboard Harmony for Bass. In a review of Fingerboard Harmony, Bass Player called Willis a "modern master". Adding to the Willis publishing catalog, Hal Leonard Publications offered The Gary Willis Collection to the public earlier this year. The book features 11 transcriptions of original Willis tunes, including the contemporary classic The Necessary Blonde, which is one of two compositions also included in Sher Music's The New Real Book-Volume Two. Jan.'99 will mark the Hal Leonard release of Ultimate Ear Training for Guitar and Bass.

One of the most exciting things on Willis' current agenda is plans for an early 1999 release of the Gary Willis Signature Bass (fretted and fretless), by Ibanez Guitars. In development for well over a year, the Willis Bass will offer bassists the chance to purchase the bass built to Willis' exacting specifications, and an opportunity to emulate the "Willis sound". His new website, garywillis.com features information on Willis, the books, the CD's, the bass, web lessons and even his dogs.

With his latest release, Willis proves once more that the depth and range of his musical abilities defy category and definition, yet for those who would want to try, it would be best if they would simply get Bent.

Reprinted from GaryWillis.com
Books
101 Bass Tips: Stuff All The Pros Know And Use (2001)
101 Bass Tips: Stuff All The Pros Know And Use (2001)
Fingerboard Harmony For Bass (1997)
Videos
Progressive Bassics

Related Gary Willis Resources

  1. GaryWillis.com (4.0 Stars · 1 Review)
    URL: http://www.garywillis.com/
    Musicians: Musician Websites · 10815 Hits · Posted on 4/27/2000 by ActiveBass

ActiveBass shared a video about Gary Willis
May 14 2012

The Gary Willis Approach - Bass Lesson(Part 1) (4.9 Stars · 331 Ratings)
For more free bass lessons visit - http://www.scottsbasslessons.com There you'll find loads of free video lessons covering bass soloing, improvisation, walking bass, grooves etc. Gary Willis has to be one of the most virtuosic, original and uniq...(more)
Bass Lessons · 20:18 · Shared on 2/20/2012 by ActiveBass
ActiveBass shared a video about Gary Willis
May 14 2012

The Gary Willis Approach - Bass Lesson (Part 2) (4.7 Stars · 43 Ratings)
CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT ABOUT THE BACKING TRACKS -http://scottsbasslessons.com/backing-tracks-special-offer.html Gary Willis has to be one of the most virtuosic, original and unique sounding bass players of the last twenty years. From his early w...(more)
Bass Lessons · 23:22 · Shared on 4/30/2012 by ActiveBass
ActiveBass shared a video about Gary Willis
May 14 2012

Right Hand Technique For Bass (Raking & Alternate Plucking) With Scott Devine (4.8 Stars · 53 Ratings)
http://www.scottsbasslessons.com FREE BASS LESSONS visit Scott's site. There you can view FREE BASS TUTORIALS covering bass soloing - improvisation - walking bass - grooves etc or contact Scott for 1to1 Skype lessons with real time screen sharin...(more)
Bass Lessons · 12:18 · Shared on 9/26/2011 by ActiveBass
ActiveBass shared a video about Gary Willis
May 14 2012

II V I Jazz Lick Bass Lesson (5) With Scott Devine (4.7 Stars · 13 Ratings)
http://www.scottsbasslessons.com FREE BASS LESSONS visit Scott's site. There you can view FREE BASS TUTORIALS covering bass soloing - improvisation - walking bass - grooves etc or contact Scott for 1to1 Skype lessons with real time screen sharin...(more)
Bass Licks · 6:13 · Shared on 9/21/2011 by ActiveBass
ActiveBass shared a video about Gary Willis
May 14 2012

II V I Jazz Lick Bass Lesson (3) With Scott Devine (4.8 Stars · 33 Ratings)
http://www.scottsbasslessons.com FREE BASS LESSONS visit Scott's site. There you can view FREE BASS TUTORIALS covering bass soloing - improvisation - walking bass - grooves etc or contact Scott for 1to1 Skype lessons with real time screen sharin...(more)
Bass Licks · 8:00 · Shared on 9/12/2011 by ActiveBass
ActiveBass shared a video about Gary Willis
May 14 2012

II V I Jazz Lick Bass Lesson (2) With Scott Devine (4.9 Stars · 55 Ratings)
http://www.scottsbasslessons.com FREE BASS LESSONS visit Scott's site. There you can view FREE BASS TUTORIALS covering bass soloing - improvisation - walking bass - grooves etc or contact Scott for 1to1 Skype lessons with real time screen sharin...(more)
Bass Licks · 5:37 · Shared on 9/11/2011 by ActiveBass
ActiveBass shared a video about Gary Willis
May 14 2012

II V I Jazz Bass Lick (4) Bass Lesson With Scott Devine (4.8 Stars · 26 Ratings)
http://www.scottsbasslessons.com FREE BASS LESSONS visit Scott's site. There you can view FREE BASS TUTORIALS covering bass soloing - improvisation - walking bass - grooves etc or contact Scott for 1to1 Skype lessons with real time screen sharin...(more)
Bass Licks · 6:41 · Shared on 9/20/2011 by ActiveBass
ActiveBass shared a video about Gary Willis
May 14 2012

Gary Willis Style Pentatonic Lick - Free Bass Lesson With Scott Devine (4.9 Stars · 60 Ratings)
For more free bass lessons visit - http://www.scottsbasslessons.com There you'll find loads of free video lessons covering bass soloing, improvisation, walking bass, grooves etc. The legendary bass player Gary Willis is in my opinion one of the ...(more)
Bass Licks · 5:30 · Shared on 1/30/2012 by ActiveBass
Travis Schilling (951) published/updated a lesson about Gary Willis
Aug 3 2004

Whatchu Talkin Bout Willis A fast sixteenth note line inspired by Gary Willis
Theory/Reference · Beginner · 796 Hits · 3.00/5 (2 ratings) · Last modified: 8/3/2004
I published a feature about Gary Willis
May 1 2000

Getting Bent with Gary Willis
Tribal Tech's 5-string monster talks with Metalwood's Chris Tarry about players, influences, dogs, and even his hats in this exclusive interview for ActiveBass.
<font color="#003333"> CT: How are you enjoying working on your own solo CD's? Musically, how does it differ for you from working with Tribal Tech? </font><br/><br/> <b>Willis:</b> My CD's as well as the Tribal Tech CD's have been a blast. The o...(more)