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Rob Amster

Instrument: Acoustic BassAMT Products Used: S25B/SP25B

“If you don’t get a great sound with this mic, then you might think about getting either a new bass or a new sound engineer….” – Rob Amster

Rob Amster began playing electric bass while attending Barrington High School. While he was initially motivated by pop and rock artists, he quickly became a devotee of fusion jazz. “A friend played a Jean Luc Ponty record for me and that planted the seed. I knew I wanted to learn how to improvise.”

At the time, Barrington, Illinois was home to a nationally recognized high school jazz program. “I was very fortunate that my band director (David Hans) turned me on to all the right stuff at a young age. I was checking out Dexter Gordon, “Trane”, Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown, “P.C.”; all the hard swinging cats.”

Following high school, Rob spent time at Berklee College in Boston and the Universityu of Miami.

At the age of 20, he was recruited from the college ranks to join the band of legendary drummer Buddy Rich. “It was a very intense experience, and I’m glad I was able to get to the place of making music with Buddy and the rest of the guys in the band. To have earned the respect of Buddy Rich means a lot, especially since he was famous for giving bass players a VERY hard time.” Rob played with the band until the drummer’s passing.

Afterward, he returned to Chicago to begin freelancing. Between 1987 and 1994 Rob performed with many artists including Dizzy Gillispie, Joe Lovano, Paquito D’Rivera, Milt Jackson and Jon Hendricks. He also began playing regularly with guitarist Fareed Haque’s group, performing on two of his critically acclaimed recordings.

By 1994, Rob had begun playing and recording with Blue Note recording artist Kurt Elling. Music recorded at a series of demo sessions became the basis for Kurt’s first release, “Close Your Eyes”, which was nominated for a Grammy award in 1995.

He also began touring with Maynard Ferguson’s band from 1994 through 1995, both in the U.S. and abroad. Between tours, Rob played with artists such as jazz guitar great Larry Coryell and vocalist Rebecca Paris.

Since 1995 Rob has continued to base himself in Chicago while touring worldwide and recording with Kurt Elling. He performed on all three of Elling’s Grammy nominated recordings and has played at many of the world’s most prestigious venues and festivals. In addition, he keeps busy at home with a variety of projects. He is the choice of tenor sax legend Von Freeman, and is a member of the “Ravinia Jazz Mentors”, a group formed by the board of the prestigious Ravinia Festival in suburban Chicago. Rob also plays sessions, freelance jazz gigs, gives clinics and teaches both privately and through his association with Ravinia.