Instrument: Acoustic Bass| AMT Products Used: S25B/SP25B
Marco Panascia is a bassist, composer and educator living in New York City. His proficiency in many different musical situations and settings, and his strong doubling skills on the acoustic and the electric basses have earned him wholehearted praise in the United States, Europe and Japan. Lately, he has been furthering his international reputation by recording and touring in three continents with Sony BMG artist Eldar, a nineteen year old jazz pianist referred to as “a truly virtuosic musical prodigy” by Don Heckman of the Los Angeles Times. Eldar’s “Live at the Blue Note” CD, featuring Marco Panascia and Todd Strait, plus special guests Roy Hargrove and Chris Botti, is currently available in US and international stores, on the Sony Classical label.
Mr. Panascia began taking classical piano lessons at the age of eight in his hometown of Catania, Italy, and started playing electric bass in rock and funk bands at the age of sixteen. He then went on to attend the local music conservatory as a string bass major, and soon developed a passion for jazz, after discovering the music of Jaco Pastorius, and attending a life-changing concert of the John Patitucci Trio in 1992.
After winning first prize at the Int’l Jazz Double Bass Competition in Edinburgh, Scotland, Mr. Panascia relocated to the United States in 1999 to study at the Berklee College of Music, where he graduated summa cum laude and was awarded six scholarships, including the Roy Haynes award for “outstanding achievement in performance”. Upon reception of a merit-based full tuition scholarship from the Manhattan School of Music, Mr. Panascia moved to New York City in 2002, and earned a Master of Music degree from that institution two years later.
Since arriving in New York, Mr. Panascia has quickly made a name for himself as a valuable freelance acoustic and electric bassist, and music educator, becoming a key member in the sextet of veteran Blue Note drummer Ben Dixon, and recording with the likes of Roy Hargrove and Lewis Nash. Highly regarded as a private bass teacher and studio musician, Mr. Panascia can often be seen performing in some of New York’s world-famous concert halls and clubs, such as the Hammerstein Ballroom, The Blue Note, Birdland, Dizzy’s Club at Jazz at Lincoln Center, 55 Bar, Fat Cat, Jazz Standard, Sweet Rhythm, Lenox Lounge, Zinc Bar and Cleopatra’s Needle. On several occasions, he also leads his own groups in NY and NJ venues, presenting his own original compositions and arrangements of classic jazz standards. The Marco Panascia Quartet has been featured with one track in the Jazziz magazine’s collector CD (October 2003), featuring today’s finest up-and-coming musicians on the US and international jazz scene. Mr. Panascia has also been featured in several other high-profile magazines and newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, Bass Player and All About Jazz-New York.
Over the years, Mr. Panascia has built an impressive performance resume, appearing with the Boston Civic Symphony Orchestra, and with several top international jazz artists, such as vibraphonist Gary Burton, pianists Herbie Hancock, Benny Green, Joe Sample, Dave Grusin, Michel Legrand, Shelly Berg, Billy Childs, Anthony Wonsey, Eric Lewis, Roberta Piket, Aaron Goldberg, Allen Farnham, David Benoit; vocalists Bobby McFerrin, Dianne Reeves, Shirley Horn, Kevin Mahogany, Patti Austin, Jane Monheit, New York Voices, Cheryl Bentyne of Manhattan Transfer; drummers Peter Erskine, Lewis Nash, Greg Hutchinson, Rodney Green, Alex Acuna, Ben Dixon, Terri Lyne Carrington, Kenny Wollesen, Gregg Field, Todd Strait, EJ Strickland; saxophonists Joe Lovano, Dave Liebman, Vincent Herring, Tom Scott, Dave Koz, George Garzone, Lew Tabackin, David Sanchez, Javon Jackson, John Ellis, Joel Frahm, JD Allen, Teodross Avery, Wayne Escoffery, Jerry Dodgion; trumpeters Roy Hargrove, Chris Botti, Wallace Roney, Terence Blanchard, Doc Severinsen, Jeremy Pelt, Darren Barrett, Tiger Okoshi, Duane Eubanks; trombonists Curtis Fuller, Andre Hayward, Isaac Smith; bassists Christian McBride, Carol Kaye, Al McKibbon, Reginald Veal; guitarists Russell Malone, Ron Affif, Jonathan Kreisberg, William Ash, Ron Jackson.
As an orchestral or electric bassist, Mr. Panascia has also worked with world-class conductors and composers such as Quincy Jones, John Clayton, Jerry Goldsmith, Jack Elliott, Bruce Broughton, Bob Brookmeyer, Patrick Williams, Elmer Bernstein, Vince Mendoza, Alan Silvestri, James Newton Howard, David Newman, Don Williams, Cecil Bridgewater and Phil Wilson. His international performing schedule with Eldar and other artists has brought him to Japan three times, as well as Turkey, France, Holland, Spain, United Kingdom, Germany and Italy, and he has appeared on some of the most renowned stages in the United States, such as Royce Hall and the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, CA; Symphony Hall in Boston, MA and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.
Although Mr. Panascia has gained recognition especially as a jazz bassist, he possesses a gift for musical versatility that has allowed him to become quite in demand in other musical styles as well, having performed or recorded in the studio with Korean pop artists Kim Dong Ryul and Shim Soo Bong, gospel pianist Wydell Croom, salsa producer Joaquin Fernandez, hip hop producer Da 24th Elder, and world music stylist Andromeda Turre (a former “Raelette” background vocalist for Ray Charles). His rendition of Claude Bolling’s “Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano Trio” with the Roselli Quartet, successfully blending jazz and classical influences, is now available worldwide on the Naxos label.
Mr. Panascia is an alumnus of several full fellowship educational institutions, including the Henry Mancini Institute at UCLA (2000, 2001, 2005), Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead at the Kennedy Center (2001, 2002), the Steans Institute for Young Artists at the Ravinia Festival (2001, 2002) and the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Academy for Emerging Artists (2002). He was also a finalist for the Alberto Vilar Global Fellowship in the Performing Arts at New York University (2002) and at the International Society of Bassists Jazz Competition in Indianapolis (2001) and Richmond, VA (2003). In February 2003, he was selected by Dr. Billy Taylor for the cable television program “Jazz and the New Generation”, sponsored by the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, showcasing a sextet of award-winning and promising jazz musicians, including a then unknown fifteen year old piano prodigy named Eldar.
Mr. Panascia is a member of Local 802, New York’s professional musicians’ union, and of the International Society of Bassists. He maintains an active presence on the internet, as the web designer of marcopanascia.com, and plans to record a CD of his original compositions, one of which earned Mr. Panascia an honorable mention in the 2002 John Lennon International Songwriting Contest.
Marco Panascia endorses Mike Lull Custom Electric Basses, Thomastik-Infeld Double Bass Strings and CodaBow carbon fiber bows, and travels with a Czech-Ease Acoustic Road Bass by David Gage.
(Last updated on June 6th, 2006)