Juan García-Herreros – Snow Owl – Art Of Contrabass Guitar (2010)

FrontCover1Juan Garcia-Herreros, also known as “The Snow Owl”, is a Colombian bassist who plays a custom six-string electric contrabass guitar.

Juan Garcia-Herreros was born in Bogotá, Colombia. His first musical studies began with flute at the age 9 after moving to New York City with his family. Once he completed middle school his family relocated once again to Dunedin, Florida where he discovered the electric bass. Due to the fact that his family was unable to afford private lessons his passion for learning fueled him to become a self-taught musician. Juan was just 16 when he began to teach music theory and jazz performance at Dunedin High School in Florida. His high-school band teacher recognized his young talent and encouraged him to also study acoustic bass so that he could be a part of the symphonic band in school. After spending many dedicated hours playing both acoustic and electric bass, he auditioned and became proficient enough to perform with the Tampa Bay Symphony at just 17 years of age.

Juan Garcia-Herreros02At the same time Juan competed in New Orleans for a slot in Berklee College of Music’s Scholarship tour and received a coveted scholarship to attend the school in Boston.

He studied at Berklee with bass instructors Bruce Gertz, Joe Santerre, Rich Appleman and Oscar Stagnaro.

At age 21, he returned to New York City to pursue a professional music career. While in New York, Juan developed the ability to meet the demands of multiple styles. His areas comprise jazz, pop, funk, salsa, straight-ahead, rock, modern, classical, heavy metal, or avant-garde.

At age 26, he moved to Vienna, Austria where he currently resides.

At age 30, he was selected by a jury to become part of the faculty for the Jazz Institute of the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Graz. He was the first Colombian to be honored with such an academic position in Austria. He left the Jazz Institute in the fall of 2012 due to a very busy touring schedule.

At age 37, he was nominated for a Latin Grammy Award in the category of Best Latin Jazz Album, for his third CD release entitled “Normas”. He is the first electric bassist ever to be nominated for this category.

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At age 39, he was awarded Triple Gold Medal and One Bronze honors from the prestigious Global Music Awards in the categories of World Jazz, Best Album, Best New Release 2016 and Instrumental Music. He is the first Colombian born Artist and Electric Bassist to ever receive this honour. This award has placed him amongst a small group of elite musical legends such as previous Gold Medallists Anna Netrebko, Gustavo Dudamel, Ricky Kej and Esperanza Spalding

At age 40, he was selected by Oscar Winning Composer Hans Zimmer to perform electric bass in the World of Hans Zimmer symphonic celebration tour.

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He has worked with Al Jarreau, Christina Aguilera, Lebo M., Lalo Schifrin, Cheick Tidiane Seck, Paul Avgerinos, Kabir Sehgal, Alex Sipiagin, Elton John, Spanish Harlem Orchestra, David Newman, Keith Lockhart, Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman, James Horner, James Newton Howard, Alexandre Desplat, Randy Newman, Lisa Gerrard, Gavin Greenaway, Deepak Chopra, Brian Mcknight, Louise Dearman, Deborah Cox, Sandra Pires, Madita, Sertab Erener, Demir Demirkan, Stoyan Yankoulov, Jojo Mayer, Terri Lyne Carrington, Thomas Lang, Antonio Sanchez, James Spaulding, Miguel Zenon, Greg Osby, Pee Wee Ellis, Lew Soloff, Michael Philip Mossman, Mamadou Diabate & Percussion Mania, Oscar Hernandez, Horacio Hernandez, Chino Nunes, Roberto Quintero, Bobby Sanabria, Mark Whitfield, Alegre Correa, José Maria Saluzzi, Sabri Tulug Tirpan, Bill Carrothers, Paul Urbanek, Edward Simon, Michael Stuart, and Johnny Rivera.

Since 2005 he has performed at the NAMM Show in Anaheim, California as well as two solo bass concerts at the 2006 Frankfurt Musikmesse. He has taught bass master classes in Berklee College of Music. His performances have included major festivals and venues stretching from the continents of Asia, Europe and the Americas. (wikipedia)

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With his stateside debut of Art of Contrabass Guitar, Juan Garcia-Herreros has created an impressive opening to the ears of any potential 21st century music aficionado. I tend not to throw around the word “virtuoso” lightly, but Juan’s playing in every sense has in my opinion earned that status.

His gift to leap genres with a strong sense of authenticity, coupled with an extremely mature solo voice will in this listeners eyes (and ears) create a bit of a buzz from his contemporaries, and deservedly so. The gift of approaching improvisational mastery and equally displaying groove sensibility as well is a tough challenge, but his playing on each track seems to reinforce both of those attributes. His un-accompanied improvisational pieces are pure icing on the cake, showing this particular musicians commitment to owning a multi-faceted voice on his instrument.

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If that’s not enough, his compositional skills (being the composer for most of the tracks) are an equal match to his virtuosic efforts. Jazz, Latin, Funk, and the dreaded F word…fusion…are all encompassed within his compositional efforts, and none of it seems to fall into any type of stereotypical “traditional” vibe, again, a tough challenge these days, or any time for that matter.

His choice of musical participants for this effort reflects his ability to hear in an “overall” atmosphere. He brings in the right people, and they most certainly respond to help compliment all of the compositions…that accomplishment is an art in itself.

This is unequivocally a music for music’s sake effort by Juan, a welcome addition to the difficult but growing position of a bass player driven effort…one of the best debut CD’s I’ve heard in a while. (Jake Kot)


Klaus Dickbauer (reeds)
Juan García-Herreros (bass)
Luis Leite (guitar)
Hector Martignon (keyboards, accordion on 08.)
Antonio Sanchez (drums)
Alessandro Kramer (accordion on 02.)
Pete Nater (flugelhorn, trumpet on 03., 06. – 08.)
Roberto Quintero (percussion on 02., 03., 06., 07. + 09.)
Harvie S (bass on 05. + 06.)
Lew Soloff (trumpet on 04.)

01. Step Towards Vision (García-Herreros) 2.50
02. Pequeña Samba (García-Herreros) 7.26
03. Mrs. Jones Drove Me To School (García-Herreros) 5.21
04. Balada Para Mis Hijas (García-Herreros) 8.03
05. Bulket (García-Herreros) 6.23
06. Goodnight Resurrection (García-Herreros) 6.21
07. Blues For Krampus (García-Herreros) 7.20
08. Song From St. Kathrein (Unterrainer) 2.46
09. Amsterdam (Leite) 6.02
10. Seis Rosas (García-Herreros) 4.08





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