Who We Are

The International Society of Bassists is your direct connection into the best and the brightest bassists, luthiers, educators and more! Through our conventions, newsletters, and magazines and new features on the website, you can be inspired, educated, and connected to our bass family. Look who you might see at the next convention:

Victor Wooten

What are you waiting for?

“I could write a book about how much the ISB has impacted my musical life and human spirit as a performing artist, educator and ongoing student of our beautiful instrument and the music that is written for us. From the moment I was first introduced to the ISB and its multiple layers of musical and personal interaction I knew I had found a home that would feed my soul and nurture my growth. I have lived a far richer life because of what the ISB embodies: the music, artistry, diversity of expression and sharing of global ideas, the layers of beauty, and the warmth and authenticity of how the ISB lives in the world. I have been deeply changed by so many wonderful artists from around the world coming together. I invite all of you to join our family and share what we so affectionately call ‘Bass Love.’ Contact me at plloyd@colburnschool.edu or through Facebook and let me share with you what is waiting for you at the ISB.”

Peter Lloyd

“The International Society of Bassists is an organization that exists solely for the purpose of supporting and promoting bassists! The magazine is a great read and being able to advertise to a pool of people who actually want to read the bass announcements is invaluable, but the real resource is the people you meet. I have formed connections with so many great players because of my ISB membership. We should have a secret handshake, I’m just throwing that out there! We all know how important having a social network can be in the music business, and as a bass player you can’t do any better than the ISB. Join the ISB and go to just one convention and you’ll see what I’m talking about. You’ll never want to miss another one.”

Phil Palombi

The 2013 ISB convention was a truly inspiring experience. The masterclasses that I attended were really informative and I heard some wonderful bass players who are doing things that were almost inconceivable 50 years ago. The opportunity for us all to come together and share our experiences is fantastic for the bass community and for the advancement of the instrument. On a personal level, it gave me a real creative boost and has set some new standards for me to aspire to.”

Dave Holland

Maybe we should call it the ISBF, for Family? Where else are bassists of all stripes not only welcomed, but also valued, and for all the right reasons? There was no ISB for me as a student or young professional. Imagine when all the knowledge, awareness and shared musical experiences became readily available. I never have, nor would I miss an event, from Cincinnati, Chicago, Austin, LA, NYC, Bloomington, Houston, Iowa City and Kalamazoo, to Oklahoma City, State College, PA, and on to San Francisco in 2011. The truth is, there’s so much that goes on it’s impossible to take it all in. So okay, you catch up at the next convention! The ISB is our life’s blood. One principal of a major orchestra confided to me at his first ISB event, “I just had no idea! How could I have missed all this for so long? I’ll never miss another.” Paul Ellison

I have been a member of the International Society of Bassist since the early ’70s.  In 1981, the organization turned a huge corner, simultaneously honoring Charles Mingus and Oscar Zimmerman, jazz and classical bassists respectively. It was an amazing event. As a jazz bassist, I felt there was now a voice representing my community. The organization has grown to embrace the entire world of the bass.  I try to attend every convention. They are inspirational and invigorating, and the feeling of camaraderie is bountiful. The young talent on display in the competitions is simply awesome. Any one of the masterclasses, clinics and incredible concerts is worth the price of admission. I always leave feeling the need to get home to practice! The ISB is very special to me and makes me even prouder that I play the bass. Please join or renew and be a member of our bass family, the ISB.  The world of the bass will open up to you!

Rufus Reid

ISB is an organization that makes incredible things happen. I attended my first ISB Convention in 1999 when I was 17 years old. For a teenager who just came out of China, everything was new and exciting. But the highlight of that convention for me was the last day. I remember sitting in the audience and all of the sudden, my name was announced. My heart was racing and my face was turning red. I was not used to being in front of a big crowd. It turned out that the I had been awarded the use of a wonderful double bass from the Karr Foundation. , after they learned that the only bass available for me to use was a school instrument.  I remember vividly the moment when David Murray carried the bass toward me on the stage.  That was a magical moment.

It’s amazing how one organization can unite great performers, master teachers, students, and bass lovers from all over the world.  The friendships and networks I formed through ISB supports me, both professionally and personally.  It is not an overstatement to say that I would not be where I am without ISB.

DaXun Zhang

It has been over 20 years since I played at my first ISB convention and like all bassists, I truly appreciate the brother and sisterhood of Bass! Because we look through all music from the ground up, we share a perspective of giving to the music and serving the whole so the music can soar. I have enjoyed the experience at conventions of sharing, learning, being inspired, humbled and driven back to the woodshed, by ALL kinds of Bass playing. I enjoy the magazine and like to learn about different ways to approach playing, hearing about new pieces, books and recordings. I have also enjoyed many articles about my Bass heroes. God bless you all and I hope to see you soon at the next Bass Hang!

John Patitucci

The years gallop past and lo’ and behold, I’m a sort of senior bassist! What a wonderful time I’ve had, and there’s more to come. Those of my generation enjoy a strong sense historical perspective. Not only am I pre-television, I’m pre- ISB! Oh, how I would have benefited from an ISB in my formative years. We were all islands. I had no idea if I was good or not, what the standard was, and what there was to do on the bass. I only found out I was doing well when I was accepted to Eastman and Curtis during my last year of high school. How things have changed thanks to my friend and contemporary Gary Karr, who founded this great forum that brought us all together. I’ve been around the whole way,  watching it grow and flourish and contributing when I’ve had the chance. Now the modern ISB has such a wealth of resources for us all. It doesn’t matter where you are along the bass trail, there is interest, excitement and friendship waiting for you. Competitions and masterclasses (there were none when I started out) are a great way to hear colleagues and discover the level of bass playing around the world. No other instrument has had the renaissance the bass has enjoyed recently, and it is all of us, with the help of our Society, who have made it happen. No signs of slowing down. Whether a student, professional, orchestral musician, jazz player, bass maker, teacher, composer or publisher, you have a contribution to make and a lot to gain. The ISB is its membership, come join us!

Thomas Martin

In all my years in the orchestra business, it has become obvious to me that the bass section is the coolest section in the orchestra. Bass players get along. We play well with others. We also show up when it’s time to serve on committees and mix with audiences. I am so very proud to be a member of this Bass Fraternity. One of the best ways for you to join in this fraternity is to become a member of the ISB. When you think of all the players and teachers we respect and want to emulate, nearly all of them are members of the ISB. Please join or renew today and hang with the cool players. Through the inspirational conventions and the magazine and website, we’ll all share in the fun! Hal Robinson

Principal, The Philadelphia Orchestra