Rob Wasserman Dies
Wasserman died Wednesday in Los Angeles, according to Matt Busch, the manager for Wasserman’s close friend Bob Weir. Weir posted on his Facebook page that Wasserman, who had been diagnosed with cancer, had “lost his struggle.”
“I can still hear the sound of his bow playing those strings unamplified and pure,” wrote Weir, the longtime Grateful Dead member who with Wasserman founded the band RatDog in the mid-1990s. “It’s one of the most glorious sounds I’ve ever heard, and the music and warmth he gave us will live on in the hearts of everyone he touched.”
A lifelong Californian and former student of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Wasserman played standup bass and drew upon jazz, classical and rock influences.
Over the past 35 years, he established himself as a top sideman and a recording artist in his own right.
Starting in 1983, he issued a trilogy of albums with titles derived from the number of players on each track: Solo, Duets and Trios. The first album was named Downbeat magazine’s record of the year. Duets, recorded everywhere from London to Texas and featuring Reed, Aaron Neville and Rickie Lee Jones, was nominated for three Grammys and brought singer Bobby McFerrin a Grammy win for male jazz vocalist.
Wasserman also played on albums by Reed, Elvis Costello, Van Morrison and the David Grisman Quintet. In 2011, he organized the Woody Guthrie tribute album Note of Hope, with Pete Seeger, Jackson Browne and Ani DiFranco, among the artists.