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Excuse, Mr. Manring!

First of all, how do you feel about a nobody like me being able to - mini - interview you?

Well, I don't think anyone is "nobody"! I'm always happy to answer questions. I remember when I was a student how much I appreciated those musicians who were willing to give me useful information. I like to pass on the favor if I can.

Your latest duo - or trio - recordings seem an attempt of capturing the magic improvisation moments of the live events. But from time to time, you do a solo album. Is that alternation intended or just casual?

I'm lucky in that I get to play lots of different kinds of music and I learn something from each situation. I love being able to play solo, but it's always nice to switch roles and interact with other musicians. Improvising is like having a conversation and it's fun to see where the music goes when you work with others. There aren't so many surprises when you play solo!

This weekend you'll be part of a great band: Suzanne Ciani, Paul McCandless, Matt Eakle, and Teja Bell. How did you meet?

I first met Paul McCandless around 1987 when his group Oregon toured with a band I played in called Montreux. The rest of the people I met when Suzanne asked me to participate in a live CD/DVD recording about ten years later.

Tell me there will be a recording of that event!

No, sorry! But there is the live recording from 1997...

Did you ever think of changing instruments?

No. I love the bass! There's something about the sound that just keeps me fascinated. I like playing other instruments occasionaly, but for me, nothing else has the power and expressiveness of the bass.

Let's say that I'm curious about your music and I'd like to get your first recordings...

The first nationally released recoding I played on was Michael Hedges' Breakfast in the Field in 1980. My first solo recording came out in 1986 and I played on a lot of recordings as a session musician all during that time. I think almost all of them are out of print now, though.

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