How did this new album and overall concept for it come about, and what are your ultimate goals with it?
My life has been involved with music from the very beginning. I love music and I love life. When they asked me for a title I thought of my Love affair with the Bass. Thus the title, “Romancing The Bass”. People always tell me that I write very pretty music, make great arrangements that are full of emotion. A lot of the songs came out of falling in and or out of love. My passion for my bass comes out on every track. All of the titles come from a feeling of Love that is important to me. Whether the song title is “All Alone” or “It’s Just The Mood I’m In, I want people to know that I can play my bass and Romance you with the bass. I want my emotion to be felt when you listen to this project. I Romance the Bass as I Romance Life. I will always Love like I have never been hurt. I will make great music from the depths of my soul so that people all over the world will smile and hold my music close to their heart.
How would you describe what inspires you to do what you do?
All the great artist of the world and the people who appreciate music as well inspires me daily. If I can make a small child smile or a person on life support who request to hear music just one more time happy, I know I have done what I am hear for. I am just a vehicle with tools to help others and myself produce great music.
Who would you say has been the single biggest influence in your life in getting you to where you are now in your career?
My Dad Merl Saunders has been my biggest influence on my life. From an early age I was surrounded by some of the greatest musicians on earth as my Dad was a great organ player/keyboardist/producer/arranger on Fantasy Records. Wynton Kelly was my Godfather and I sat on Paul Chambers lap as a child. Herbie Hancock gave me some piano lessons while Sly Stone gave me an Organ for Christmas when I was 10 years old. My Dad showed me from the beginning what to do and gave me the tools to get better. I worked side by side with him for so many years as a bassist/ arranger and co-producer. My life skills were learned through his diligent teaching. He never made me look bad even when my skills were not yet where they should be. From the first thing I played on where he guided my bass playing through an award winning documentary, to being his assistant-music producer as we did the music for the Twilight Zone TV show he always showed me the way. Living every day life as a musician’s son the expectations were always high and I thank him for pushing me to where I am today. He spent countless hours with me in the studio showing me every aspect from engineering to producing. Besides being a great Dad he was also a great teacher.
What’s your favorite non-music activity?
My favorite thing to do away from music is being in and around water. I like to drive speedboats really fast and I like to sail in boats and enjoy the gentle breezes. The water brings peace to my soul.
Who are some of your current favorite artists, Smooth Jazz or otherwise?
I like to listen to all types of music and the kids around me introduce me to what they listen to. I have listened to George Duke and Joe Sample all my life and love all of their music. I like who George Duke produces too. And of course I love all bass players. Stanley Clarke and Marcus Miller have my heart because they also produce as I do. Freddie Washington and Nathan East for being Premiere studio Bassist. Alphonso Johnson and Ralphe Armstrong for being trendsetters. But there isn’t a musician I won’t listen to. I like the fact that you tube has given the young kids so much access to music that great musicians are everywhere and turning up younger and younger. I like the kids from Sweden Dirty Loops as well as I love me some Charlie Wilson. I also love Norman Brown’s music. Growing up around Ray Chew set the Bar way high as far as being great at all aspects of music and he remains one of my all time favorite people to play music with.
What question do you wish someone would ask you that has never been asked of you in an interview?
What do you like about people responding to your music in a positive way?