Berklee musicians are having so much fun touring this summer that it should be made a capital offense… yes, I’m jealous. Here’s a postcard from student bassist Tim Luckow.
So far at Berklee I have had many memorable moments, but few can compare to playing the Charlemont Reggae Festival with the Bob Marley Ensemble.
We had rehearsal the night before which was the first time I met about half of the group, and even then you could tell the vibe was going to be great, the first time running through songs they were already sounding great. We rehearsed for about 3 hours and then called it, feeling good about what was to come.
The next day we met on the Berklee Beach at noon, looking around for our bus when all of the sudden we see a giant bus pulling up. We all assumed it couldn’t possibly be ours, but sure enough Berklee went big and got us a nice big bus with plenty of room for everything we needed. The ride started off with Matt playing some Bob Marley dub mixes and everyone getting to know each other. As the ride went on, Matt, Tubby, and our I-3 all went up to the front and started rehearsing all of the vocal parts, while the rest of us relaxed in the back. By the end it felt like the entire bus was singing along as the vocalists came to the back to join us, and the feel got really good, as everybody grew increasingly anxious for what was to come.
As our bus driver pulled off the most amazing uphill turn I have ever seen a bus do, we pulled into the festival, and immediately, we all got the feeling of excitement to play to a crowd like this. It was very laid-back, yet everyone was extremely into the music. There was beautiful tree-filled hills all around us, finally escaping the city and getting some nice surroundings to relax in.
The band before us was called the Alchemystics, and they were one of the most fun live shows I have seen in a while. There is not much more that they could’ve done to get me pumped up and ready to play. Their bassist, former Berklee student Garrett Sawyer, absolutely laid it down, and everybody at the festival was getting down to this guy’s bass lines. Definitely set the tone and got me ready to go out there and play.
The second we hit the stage we were all feeling great, kicking it right off with “I Shot the Sheriff,” with a killer keyboard solo from Sam. There was many other highlights in the set, whether it was getting to dub out “Crazy Baldheads” or the horn soli of “Slave Driver.” All in all it was just one of the most fun shows I have ever had the opportunity to play, and am so thankful I got to!
The MVP of the day was definitely [Berklee piano prof] Matt Jenson, who not only wrote the arrangements, organized transportation, booked the gig, and was the musical director but ALSO laid down the drums like he had been playing for years. Being the bassist in a reggae band, you absolutely need the drummer to be right in it, and Matt definitely did that.
Overall it was a great experience and I have to tell anybody, whether they like reggae music or not, to audition for the Life and Music of Bob Marley class. It will open your mind and let you see not only music, but many different aspects of your life in a different light. —Tim Luckow