Retiring from Playing the Double bass

There used to be a popular song when I was a kid; “Where do all the Flies go in the Winter Time?” so what happens to bassists when they get old?
I have mentioned some bass players in my blogs. Many go on to a ripe old age and never retire.  Some leave (or are left out!) of the profession and very few seem to retire in comfort.
I can think of one bassist in the BBC Symphony Orchestra whom I met in 1947, his name was Dan Burton and he had reached the magic BBC retiring age of 60.
Although Dan was around the age of retirement he always arrived very early for rehearsal and warmed up with scales and arpeggios plus a look at the music on his stand.
He was a burly individual who had hands, to quote Eugene Cruft, “like sides of beef”and looked very healthy.
He found an ideal cottage (so he thought), in Somersetshire in the West of England  and had only been living there for three months when Winter came and so did the floods.  Dan’s cottage was inundated, he caught pneumonia and died.

I don’t know what to add,  there should be a moral somewhere in this.


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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Do you know the name Carl McVickers? He’s a bassist here in Naples, Florida, and in my view as good as Ray Brown ever was. Well, almost. He worked with lots of headliners before retirement, but now plays local gigs, as do any number of terrific studio musicians. It’s one of the best things about living in Naples, great jazz. The head honcho is Bob Zottola, trumpet and flugelhorn. Absolutely drop-dead brilliant at 70+.
    If you enjoy whimsy, you might visit

  2. Thanks for your email re. Carl McVickers. I’m sorry, I never had the pleasure of meeting him, but, if, as you say he is on a par with Ray Brown then he must indeed be a great player.

    Robert Meyer

    Robert Meyer 216-2200 Highbury Street VANCOUVER, B.C. V6R 4N8 (cell) 778.829.6824 Phone) (604)-566-2514

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