Twenty-four years ago, in 1993, bassist Ron Kadish dropped out of graduate school and embarked upon a career as a freelance musician. This could’ve been the biggest mistake of his life, and a decision he lived to regret. Fortunately, this throw of the dice paid off, and Ron Kadish’s life has revolved around music ever since.
Since the bassist, bandleader, composer and educator left graduate school in 1993, Ron Kadish has based himself in the college town of Bloomington, Indiana. It’s where he calls home, and where he returned to, from tours with the great and good of music. This included The Moody Blues, John Mellencamp, John Denver, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Sarah Mc Lachlan, and Paula Cole. These are just a few of the many bands and artists that Ron Kadish has shared a stage with over the past three decades.
Nowadays, much of Ron Kadish’s time is spent in Bloomington, where he’s a familiar face in the city’s vibrant music scene, and teaches a new generation of musicians. Bloomington is also where Ron Kadish’s recently released debut album Tales From Under was born. It sees Ron Kadish take centre-stage and showcase his talent and versatility on Tales From Under. It’s an album that has been a lifetime in the making.
Like most musicians, Ron Kadish’s love affair with music began when he was growing up in New Jersey. That was where Ron Kadish started to play the electric bass. By then, he was a high school student and thinking about music school. However, after a conversation with the man he credits as his inspiration, Ron Kadish realised that he would have to expand his skill set.
Ron Kadish remembers that day: “My private lesson teacher when I was in high school in New Jersey, was journeyman bassist Ron Naspo, who said to me. “If you want to go to music school and make a living playing music, it won’t be enough to just play electric bass, you’ll have to play double bass too.” Realising that Ron Naspo was right, Ron Kadish started to learn to play the double bass.
This would stand him in good stead when he headed off to music school, and later, when Ron Kadish embarked as a career as freelance musician. Later in his career Ron Kadish remembers meeting Ron Naspo, whose advice had transformed his career: “A few years ago my parents hired Ron’s jazz trio to play at their anniversary and I sat in on his double bass. He told me I turned out pretty well, which was really great to hear.” That was still to come.
As Ron Kadish started to hone his playing style, he sought inspiration from a variety of musicians. A true music lover, he lists the many musicians that have influenced him: “There are so many…..Mingus, Ron Carter, Avashai Cohen, Jaco, Bruce Bransby, Edgar Meyer… that’s just the obvious bass players….Wayne Shorter, Miles, Jimi, Malian desert blues musicians, Nigerian Afrobeat like Fela, Weather Report is a huge influence, the street musicians I used to see in Jerusalem and New York….everybody who sounds good is influential if you take the time to listen to them.” That is good advice for any aspiring musicians and has stood Ron Kadish in good stead.
After high school, Ron Kadish headed to music school as planned. By 1993, he was in graduate school, and had cofounded the educational Middle Eastern ensemble Salaam. However, Ron Kadish was becoming restless. He wanted to experience life as a working musician. With a heavy heart, he made the decision to leave graduate school and embark upon a career as a freelance musician.
This could’ve ended in tears for Ron Kadish. Fortunately, he was a talented and versatile musician who was capable of working with a wide variety of musicians. Over the next few years, Ron Kadish worked with everyone from touring string sections right through to John Denver and The Moody Blues. Other times, Ron Kadish also found himself part of the rhythm sections backing Mark Robinson, Merrie Sloan, and even the stalwarts Bloomington’s local music scene. Ron Kadish was a man for all musical seasons.
His versatility has allowed Ron Kadish to jam with musicians from all over the world. He’s jammed in hotel rooms with the Master Musicians of Jajouka and in 1997, jammed onstage at the Lillith Fair Festival tour with holy trinity of Mary Chapin Carpenter, Sarah McLachlan, and Paula Cole. Ron Kadish has also slotted into the rhythm section of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra and even recorded demos with John Mellencamp. As CVs go, Ron Kadish’s CV is a particularly impressive one.
That is no surprise, as Ron Kadish has spent twenty-four years touring America and Europe. During that period, Ron Kadish has played venues of all shapes and sizes. In the early days, the venus were small, but later, he played in concert halls and auditoriums as he took to the stage with musical legends. Then when Ron Kadish returned home to Bloomington, he worked with the next generation of musicians.
This is something Ron Kadish has been doing since 1992. That was when he started his own studio and began teaching students. By 1993, he was hired by Indiana State University and taught double bass there until 1999. Many of Ron Kadish’s students went on to some of America’s most prestigious music schools, while others went on to become professional musicians.
Having left Indiana State University in 1998, Ron Kadish and the rest of the educational Middle Eastern ensemble Salaam, started touring elementary and junior high schools in Indiana. This they continued to do right up until 2004.
It was no surprise that Ron Kadish spent six years helping to educate the young people in Indiana. Ron Kadish knew the importance of education, and was well a qualified and talented musician. By then, he held a BM in Double Bass Performance and a MM in Jazz Studies from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He had also studied at the prestigious Berklee School of Music and the Steans Institute at Ravinia. These were important additions to his burgeoning CV.
In 2013, Ron Kadish gave up his studio after twenty-one years. By then, he was busier than ever. He was touring with Lonely Street Production, who are based in Tucson, Arizona and with various jazz and world fusion artists. Ron Kadish also works with a variety of nostalgia acts and is the principal bass chair in the Danville Symphony Orchestra. Still, Ron Kadish works as a composer and finds time to lead and participate in many musical projects, ranging from composer workshops to jam sessions and Broadway-bound musicals. It seems that Ron Kadish is one of the hardest working men in music. It’s no surprise that he’s never got round to releasing a debut album.
It was something that Ron Kadish had never quite got round to. He’s spent most of career working with other people and teaching a new generation of musicians. One of the people who have influenced and inspired Ron Kadish’s career was the late, David Baker.
He was a jazz musician and educator, and is the man who Ron Kadish calls his mentor. Prior to his passing, the two men often spoke at length about music. David Baker had also helped to guide Ron Kadish’s burgeoning career. That was despite Ron Kadish being an experienced and talented musician, who could seamlessly switch between musical genres, including jazz and rock. However, since the passing of David Baker, Ron Kadish has spent much time thinking about stepping out of the shadows and taking centre-stage.
Embarking on a solo career wasn’t something to take lightly, but by then, Ron Kadish was using his spare time to write music. When Ron Kadish sat down to write a new piece of music, he used the techniques he the learnt from David Baker. This is quite different to the way most jazz musicians write. Ron Kadish unsurprisingly starts from starts from under by writing the bass parts. He explains: “I write a lot of my melodies on the bass. Most of the time when I’m working on a melody, I’ll sit down with the bass and the bow and work it out. It’s practical for me. I can edit myself without thinking. Piano distracts me with the mechanics of the process. With the bass, I just play it.” That was the case with the tracks on Ron Kadish’s new debut album Tales From Under.
Ron Kadish has been working on a number of the tracks on Tales From Under for a number of years, and has workshopped them at various places. This includes Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute, where David Baker encouraged Ron Kadish to bring along the track that eventually became A Rose for Viola. Even today, Ron Kadish is a familiar face at local music workshops, where he plays, hones and refines his compositions. Eventually, with a number of compositions complete, and with some time on his hands, Ron Kadish decided the time had come to enter the studio.
At last, the time was right for Ron Kadish to record his debut album, which later, became Tales From Under. To record his long-awaited debut album, Tales From Under called some of his friends from the Bloomington music scene. Ron remembers: I wanted to work exclusively with Bloomington musicians. It’s not widely known, but there is a wide variety of talent in this town, and a sizeable portion of that talent is truly excellent. I wanted this to be a collaborative project, where everyone has a musical say, where I know everyone. I had to trust them.”
One of the musicians involved in the project was Janice Jaffe, who Ron Kadish knew really well, after spending years improvising together. The two musicians seem to bring out the best in each other, and when they play together reach new musical heights. During an exchange of musical ideas Ron Kadish and Janice Jaffe came up with the five Interludes on Tales From Under and Original Numbers. Janice Jaffe also wrote the lyrics to A Rose For Viola. These were among the nine tracks that Ron Kadish and his band recorded in the studio.
Joining Ron Kadish and Janice Jaffe were some talented local musicians. This included the Indianapolis-based oud player Victor Santoro. He joined Bloomington’s one and only nai guy, Joe Donnelly. They were part of Ron Kadish’s tight, talented and versatile band when Tales From Under was recorded. The pair is responsible for the graceful sound and timbral variety on Edge Of Calm. Meanwhile, bandleader Ron Kadish and his band were showcasing their considerable talent and ability to seamlessly change direction and switch between musical genres.
This they were able to do seamlessly, as they moved between avant adventures to down-and-dirty vamps. However, it’s the ethereal Up From The Deep Down From The Sky that opens Tales From Under, and gives way to one of the album’s highlights Tutto Boogaloo. This allows the band to showcase their talent during the solos. By the end of the track, the Bloomington-based has shown what they’re capable of. So has bandleader Ron Kadish.
Tales From Under features music from the last century, and features everything from boogaloo to Middle Eastern classical music. Often, it’s a case of opposites attracting. Especially, when Janice Jaffe’s vocal provides a counterpoint to Ron Kadish’s bass. He has honed his own unique style, where his bow delves deep into the lower depths of the double bass’ register. The combination of the bass and vocal is a powerful and poignant one. That is deliberate: “I wanted to let the extremes come together. I wanted a snapshot to capture all the different pieces and directions I’ve explored over the years, without jolting the listener.” The result is a truly eclectic and captivating album from a master musician.
Proof of that is A Rose For Viola a beautiful ballad where Janice Jaffe’s vocal takes centre-stage, and the rest of the band provide a Latin tinged backdrop. It’s followed by Interlude One, an understated track where Ron Kadish’s bass provides the counterpoint to Janice Jaffe’s ethereal, cooing vocal. Victor Santoro and Joe Donnelly then play leading roles in the graceful sound and timbral variety of The Edge Of Calm. On Second Interlude Janice Jaffe scats as Ron Kadish plucks his bass. It gives way to the ten minute epic Groovi Sandi, where some Bloomington’s finest stretch their legs during this genre-melting jam. When the solos come round, each musician enjoys their moment in the sun, and play their part in the sound and success of this funky, jazz-tinged opus.
Very different is Interlude III where the wistful sound of Ron Kadish’s bass provides the backdrop to Janice Jaffe’s vocal which has an Eastern influence. All too soon, Interlude III is over leaving just the memory of this intriguing Interlude. Light For The Lost ebbs and flows, with the tempo rises and falls as a saxophone soars above the arrangement. Soon, Ron Kadish’s double bass is playing a leading role as his fingers flit up and down the fretboard and plucks quickly, confidently and sometimes deliberately. By then, here’s a much more experimental, avant and mesmeric sound that is combined with the jazzy horn on this truly ambitious musical adventure. It’s followed by the ethereal sounding Interlude 4, before the joyous and irresistible The Fun Never Stops! bursts into life. After that, the jazzy Last Interlude features another scatted vocal from the talented Janice Jaffe.
The Dream Of The Double Bass has a much more experimental sound, with Ron Kadish’s mournful, melancholy and otherworldly bass. Later, Ron switches to electric bass and adds a pulsating heartbeat as the Dream continues. It’s another of the highlights of Tales From Under. Original Numbers is another short track where of Janice Jaffe and Ron Kadish improved. Ron’s bass provides a counterpoint to Janice’s urgent, scared and improvised vocal. Closing Tales From Under is Skunitological Conclusions. Here, Ron Kadish’s jaggy, angular and avant bass line takes centre-stage during this engaging, hypnotic and innovative track. It ensures that Tales From Under closes on a high.
Twenty-four years after embarking upon a career as a freelance musician, Ron Kadish has released his long-awaited and much-anticipated debut album, Tales From Under. This he did with a little help from his friends. These friends are some of the leading lights of Bloomington’s vibrant music scene. They provide the backdrop for Ron Kadish on his genre-melting debut album.
Seamlessly, Ron Kadish and his band switch between, and combine, elements of avant-garde, boogaloo, experimental, funk, jazz, Latin and Middle Eastern classical music. Meanwhile, Ron Kadish and his band, which includes the talented vocalist Janice Jaffe, create music that is variously beautiful, bewitching, captivating, ethereal, joyous and uplifting. Other times, the music is enchanting, hypnotic, thoughtful and wistful. Always, the music on Tales From Under is ambitious, innovative and is guaranteed to engage the listener as they embark on a bewitching musical adventure that lasts fifteen tracks and fifty-one magical minutes. During that time, bassist, bandleader, composer Ron Kadish showcases his talents and versatility on his long-awaited and much-anticipated debut album Tales From Under.