Bassist/composer Jay Anderson is among the most versatile and respected jazz artists performing today. Born in 1955 in Southern California, Anderson began playing acoustic bass at the age of 12. Throughout junior high, high school, and college, Anderson won numerous awards for excellence in both jazz and classical music. One week after receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Performance from California State University at Long Beach, Anderson was asked to join the Woody Herman Orchestra. After touring with the “Herd” for a year, he was called by Carmen McRae and performed with the legendary singer for the next two years.
In 1982 Anderson made the decision to move to New York City. Since moving East, he has continued to perform and record with some of the most important names in jazz. Anderson has been a regular member in the bands of Red Rodney & Ira Sullivan, Michael Brecker, Toots Thielemans, Bob Mintzer, Michael Franks, Eliane Elias, Bennie Wallace, Lew Tabackin, Steve Khan, Lynne Arriale, and has been a regular with the great Joe Sample since 1992.
Anderson takes pride in his versatility and openness to different types of music. He has been featured on over 200 recordings, including work with Paul Bley, Randy Brecker, Bob Berg, Vic Juris, Mike Stern, Donald Byrd, Terumasa Hino, Mark Soskin, Lee Konitz, Warren Bernhardt, Dave Stryker, Steve Slagle, Tiger Okoshi, Rich Perry, Yosuke Yamashita, and many others. He has performed with the big bands of Kenny Wheeler, Bob Mintzer, Bob Belden, Mel Lewis, Toshiko Akiyoshi, George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band, WDR Köln (Germany), and the critically acclaimed Maria Schneider Orchestra whose 2004 release “Concert In The Garden” won the Grammy Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album.
Anderson has also done numerous jingles and non-jazz recordings with Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Chaka Khan, Michel Legrand, legendary poet Allen Ginsberg, and the Grammy Award winning 1997 Record of the Year “Falling Into You” by Celine Dion.
In addition to being a highly sought-after sideman, Anderson is a proven voice in his own right. His two original recordings on the DMP label, “NEXT EXIT” and “LOCAL COLOR” have received critical acclaim both in the U.S. and abroad.
Anderson has been the recipient of the NEA grant for composition and two Meet the Composer grants. Ten of the recordings he has been featured on have been nominated for the Grammy Award. He has conducted clinics around the world and is a Professor of Jazz Bass Studies at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City.
“Jay Anderson is a flawless section bassist and a fleet full toned soloist....an uncommonly mobile bassist.”
Leonard Feather-LA Times
“Anderson’s bass frolics, romps, bounces and strides with impeccable precision....”
John Scarborough- Houston Chronicle
“ Anderson and Davis, superb musicians who suggested the capacity to dazzle with virtuosity had they so chosen,each took a more selfless approach. The bassist turned in excellent solos, with just enough technique to spice his warm, melodic conception and never played two notes when one would suffice.”
Bob Blumenthal-The Boston Globe
“Mr. Anderson has a melodic sense that effectively shapes his solos and adds subtle touches to his accompaniments.”
John S. Wilson-NY TImes
.....a most imaginative and sympathetic bassist”
The Observer (UK)
“Bassist Anderson plays a monster solo, showing the same care as the other two players in crafting a solo that bends and molds the stuff of the song.”
Mark Kirby- MusicDish.com
“Anderson’s solo in Kum Ba Ya is simply magical”
Pat Mavromatis-One Way
“ A fine soloist, Anderson’s chorus on Prisoner of Love is quite outstanding. Great ideas, impeccable intonation all over the fingerboard, remarkable rhythmic freedom; he even manages to squeeze Bird’s Cool Blues and Mozart’s 40th into his last eight bars!
Simon Woolf-Double Bassist Magazine
“Jay’s playing is so melodic. Sometimes when he plays a solo, I wish I could stop playing and just listen.”
“Jay hits a home run every time.”
“Anderson provides a similarly grand yet gentle structure, filling his deeply resonant solo with strongly melodic elements.”
“Bassist Jay Anderson is the cement to this pyramid that not only solidifies the music but also glows when he ezpresses deep solos like on the moving closing piece “Twilight.”
Mark F. Turner - all about jazz.com
“Anderson lives up to his reputation with an omnipresence that fulfils much more than a support role. His ideas contribute significantly to the direction and mood of the music. Regardless of the twists and turns Isaacs takes, Anderson is right there suggesting possibilities and directions.”
Jenny Game-Lopata- Music Forum Magazine
"Jay Anderson is bedrock, unfailingly solid and dependable, with amazing ability as a soloist and a capacity for rhythmic interplay. He isn't just a functional bass player. He's always part of the ensemble while driving it forward."
Ted Panken - Sept. ‘99