Steuart Liebig - electric bass + electronics
Contrabassguitarist-composer Steuart Liebig has had a varied "non-career" in music. Hearing Renaissance vocal music alongside 20th-century classics and jazz at an early age and then later hearing some of the cutting-edge rock music of 1960s Los Angeles and many traveling blues bands at the legendary Ash Grove probably started him on a path that would include many different types of music. Taking up the electric bass in his early teens, his first playing experiences were, like many of his generation, involved in the rock and blues worlds. In high school he was introduced to jazz, though he often found himself bored with many of the mainstream sounds presented to him and started to search out more "exotic" strains of improvised music. In his early college days, he was lucky enough to find people who were sympathetic and with whom he would have long-lasting musical relationships. At the age of 19 he began a three-year stint playing rhythm guitar with soul-jazz pianist-singer Les McCann (playing on four albums). Feeling the need to develop a broader knowledge of classical music (and to get back to the bass!), he quit Les' band and returned to university, where he studied classical contrabass, music history and composition. After graduating he realized that the life of a symphony bassist was not going to do and decided to start a rock band. This band (BLOC) eventually went on to get the "fabled" major-label recording contract, put out an album and, like many rock bands, self-immolate. Luckily, Steuart had not put all of his musical eggs in one basket and had been playing with noted saxophonist-composer Julius Hemphill as well as various members of the Los Angeles improvised music community. In addition to playing writing for bands like Stigtette and Beutet, Steuart is writing material for an improvising chamber group, Minim, developing literature for solo contrabassguitar, and continues to conceptualize and write long-form pieces for Kammerstig. Besides the compositional work discussed above, Steuart often plays in the groups of guitarist G.E. Stinson, drummer-percussionist Alex Cline, drummer-vibraphonist Gregg Bendian and trombonist Scot Ray; in the improvising collectives Bone Structure (Gregg Bendian, violinist Jeff Gauthier, Steuart Liebig, G.E. Stinson) and L. Stinkbug (drummer Scott Amendola, guitarist Nels Cline, Steuart Liebig, G.E. Stinson); and in improvising duos with Jeff Kaiser (trumpet, voice, electronics) and Anna Homler (voice, toys). He uses fretted and fretless Fodera contrabassguitars as well as Fodera roundwound strings (for Bb and Eb contrabassguitars) and Thomastik-Infeld Jazz Flats strings (for C contrabassguitars). Steuart lives in Culver City, California, with his wife, ceramist Leslie Rosdol, and their twin children, Anya and Aron.