THE SOUND, MACHINES AND COMPOSITIONS OF JAIR-ROHM PARKER WELLS
The Eclectic Electronic Musician
21ST CENTURY ECLECTIC BASS
Jair-Rohm Parker Wells has taken the electric bass to new heights and vistas. For more than twenty years, he has shared his "Loopadelica" (the method of improvising on and processing the bass live) with audiences on five continents. Check out his newest productions below, and get in touch with any questions about Jair-Rohm Parker Wells and his gear.
ABOUT JAIR-ROHM PARKER WELLS
Jair-Rôhm Parker Wells (born October 13, 1958) is an American electric bassist. He is one of the founding members of the improvising band Machine Gun with Thomas Chapin and Robert Musso and the founder of the Meeting Interdisciplinary Arts Festival in Stockholm, Sweden. He lived in Stockholm, Sweden, from 1985 until 2010.
He has been a promoter of improvised and experimental music and has collaborated with Bob Belden, Karl Berger, Daniel Carter, Jaron Lanier, John Sinclair, Shabacka Hutchings, and Tony Scott. In 2017, he was in residence at EMS in Stockholm where he began work on his opera #blacbuc. The work was composed on the Buchla and Serge modular systems at the institute. Compositions from his Liberation cycle are featured as part of res·o·nant, the light and sound installation by artist Mischa Kuball at the Jewish Museum Berlin.
Raised in southern Germany, Jair-Rôhm moved to New York in 1978. After touring the United States for a year with a pop music band, he attended Tulane University in New Orleans. At Tulane he performed with local jazz and rhythm and blues musicians. He also performed as a member of Tulane University's Tulanians, met and studied with Richard Payne, and discovered the music of Harry Partch. In 1980 he returned to New York and started work-study with saxophonist Ken Simon. He met Anthony Braxton and studied his music. In 1982 he founded his experimental music theater group Glass Thought Theater Ensemble. Between 1982 and 1983 he was composer in residence at the New York Theater Ensemble, writing and producing a trilogy of progressive "operas". He received a Meet the Composer grant in 1983. During the next year, he lived in New Jersey and was a founding member of the New Brunswick Jazz Musician's Collective, for which he composed several works for ensembles. He has performed at Vahdat Hall (Tehran, Iran), Xinghai Conservatory of Music (Guangzhou, China), Tribeca Performing Arts Center (New York), Globen Arena (Stockholm), Saxophone Jazz Pub (Bangkok, Thailand), Cafe Oto (London, England) and the Domicil Jazz Club (Munich, Germany).
IN THE NEWS
CODING MYSELF OUT OF HARDWARE DEPENDENCY
No more stomp boxes
So, I was lying there looking at all of the great boutique stomp boxes on Instagram trying to figure out how I was going to afford them and where I was going to get a pedal board built that would be big enough for them and then all of a sudden I was like "WAIT!" I have an iPad (I actually have three) and I have an audio interface for my iOS devices and I can code...why don't I just build my own processors and run them on the iPad? I even have a Bluetooth pedal board that I can use to control apps and that even has inputs for switches and continuous controller pedals.
I was decided.
I started looking into frameworks because I'd fooled around with DSP programming in C++ and Java in the past. Not fun. There are some brillian frameworks available to the aspiring plugin/app developer now. The three that impressed me most are JUCE, Faust and (the framework I'm using) AudioKit. AudioKit because it is "married" to my current programming language of choice; Swift. This language is everything I wanted Java to be and exactly what I never believed C++ could.
My first project was to implement my Elektro Harmonix Bass Micro Synth as a plugin for the iPad. I'm close to being finished with an alpha. So far, I've discovered "improvements" that I could make on the original hardware design. Rendering these devices in software, we aren't limited by physics so we literally can build whatever we imagine. For free! There's a new granular pedal on the market that I was lusting after. I knew it wasn't going to be cheap and I was saving up for one - until I read through the AudioKit documentation.
I'm also working on a range of bass preamp designs. I have one that's in alpha now and I'm ready to use it in a rehearsal. It's called "The Anti Pre" because it does the opposite of what most preamps do. I'll be posting more info on that soon.
There are tons of great plugins out there for the iOS platform and with AUM I can very easily combine my plugins with others to create signal chains that would be impossible in hardware.
Welcome to the new era of industrial progress.
BEHIND THE MUSIC
A Creative Presence
FlowSonic is Ronnie Burrage - drums, voice and electronics, Michael Gregory Jackson - guitar, voice and electronics and Jair-Rôhm Parker Wells - NS Design basses and electronics.
Ronnie Burrage has been a formidable figure on the NYC Jazz scene since 1976. He has performed and/or recorded with Wayne Shorter, Sonny Rollins, Pat Metheny, Jaco Pastorius, McCoy Tyner and Jackie McLean. He is featured on more than 150 recordings and has toured on all four continents. With FlowSonic, he continues to perform some of the most interesting and cutting edge jazz in the world.
Michael Gregory Jackson is one of the most influential, unfettered and innovative guitarists to have emerged from New York’s avant-garde loft scene in the 70s. Jackson is a master guitarist, producer, composer, and improviser. He has spanned and at times defied musical genres. He has worked with a long string of music giants that include Nile Rodgers, Oliver Lake, Anthony Braxton, Walter Becker, David Murray, Julius Hemphill, and Wadada Leo Smith, to name a few. He has recorded for Black Saint, Hat-Hut, Arista, RCA/BMG, Island Records and his own GOLDEN label. Jackson continues to passionately define the state of the art with FlowSonic.
Jair-Rôhm Parker Wells is one of the founding members of the improvising band Machine Gun with Thomas Chapin and Robert Musso and the founder of the Meeting Interdisciplinary Arts Festival in Stockholm, Sweden. He has collaborated with Bob Belden, Karl Berger, Daniel Carter, Jaron Lanier, John Sinclair and Tony Scott. Compositions from his "Liberation" cycle are featured as part of "res·o·nant", the light and sound installation by artist Mischa Kuball at the Jewish Museum Berlin. Jair-Rohm's eclectic approach to the practical application of sophisticated electronics with the electric upright bass propels FlowSonic to the outer limits of originality.
SOME OF MY NS DESIGN BASSES
29 August 2019
I've been very fortunate to have the relationship I have with the marvelous company NS Design. Founded by Ned Steinberger in 1990, my association with the company is a continuation of the relationship I've had with Steinberger Guitars company going back to 1986. These four basses are the main basses I'm playing here in the US. There is also a black NSD WAV bass that rarely leaves my home studio and is the bass heard on almost everything I produce there. I also have another black WAV bass in storage in Stockholm and that is the bass that I tour with in Europe.
My newest bass is the black satin NXTa Radius Bass Guitar. Again, Ned Steinberger is way ahead of the game redefining what a bass guitar is and can be. Aside from being a superbly crafted instrument in all respects, this bass is powered by "green energy". The bass is fitted with battery-free Dual Mode Output electronics made for NS by Mi-Si™. That's right: active electronics without batteries. Read all about this remarkable technology here.
Photo by Sherry Rubel
LOOKY LOOKY! IT'S HERE!
29 July 2019
At last! The follow up to Bob Ostertag's classic "Motormouth" is finally available from the MussoMusic label. "Motormouth Deviations" is sort of a remix album of the tracks on Bob Ostertg's 2011 album "Motormouth". The album was developed over the course of a couple of years utilizing (primarily) the studios at EMS in Stockholm, Sweden; Liverpool University, UK and Dad's Office, New Jersey, USA. Bob Ostertag is featured on the Buchla 200e system. I provide more Buchla 100 and 200e, Serge plus some software processing and NS Design basses. Get over to MussoMusic, have a listen to the samples and get the album!
10 June 2019
The trio FlowSonic is: Ronnie Burrage on drums, vocals and electronics, Michael Gregory Jackson on guitar, vocals and electronics and Jair-Rohm Parker Wells on basses and electronics. Tracks are presently being mixed by Robert Musso (Bill Laswell, Tom Waits, Ginger Baker, etc) for a release soon.
Photo by Sherry Rubel
YELLOW FIELDS: MUSIC OF AND INSPIRED BY EBERHARD WEBER
09 June 2019
Jair-Rohm put together Yellow Fields out of his love of the music of bassist Eberhard Weber. Recording will be soon completed on a seven track EP which will feature covers of the Eberhard Weber classics "Colours of Chloe" and "Touch" as well as original compositions by Jair-Rohm Parker Wells.
THE DC JAZZ FESTIVAL WITH WILLIAM HOOKER TRIO
05 June 2019
On Friday June 14th, The William Hooker Trio with Ben Goldberg and Jair-Rohm Parker Wells will perform at RhizomeDC as part of the DC Jazz Festival. Tickets are $15 and the downbeat is 8PM.