Interview: James Rosocha

Dan McAvinchey: James, thanks for joining us, let's get right into it. When did you first get interested in guitar, and how did you learn and progress as a player?

James Rosocha: I started learning the electric bass at age fifteen and was lucky enough to have one of the best private teachers in New Jersey. His name was Harry Leahey and he was a prestigious jazz guitarist who worked with saxophonist Phil Woods. Although I was a bassist, I studied scales, the modes, chords, intervals and repertoire with Harry. He had a very structured, sequential, no nonsense teaching style.

I also studied with bassist Dave LaRue of the Steve Morse Band and the Dixie Dregs. Dave was also a former student of Harry and his teaching style and methods were very similar. I went on to earn my Bachelor of Music Degree from the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Since graduating I've worked with fusion, funk, jazz, latin bands, and even some theater work. My main gig for over the past twenty years has been with fusion jazz guitarist B.D. Lenz whom I've recorded over nine albums with, and toured both nationally and internationally. We do a yearly tour of Europe every summer and its been a blast.

Dan McAvinchey: Your new album "Avalon" is out, was it self-released?

James Rosocha: After working with the B.D Lenz group for over twenty years and recording nine albums, I was way overdue to record my own CD. All of the tunes were composed on the piano and the bass lines and melodies were added afterwards. We were under the label "Apria Records" for many years before the label went belly up. I decided to release the album independently so I could benefit from sales.

Dan McAvinchey: How would you describe the music on "Avalon" to someone who has never heard you before?

James Rosocha: The music on the album could be described as either funk, funky jazz, or fusion. There are very heavy, bass-driven tunes balanced out with some Latin and lighter compositions. I feel that a full onslaught of heavy funk tunes would be too much for the listener and it's always a good idea to balance the album out with some lighter, more sentimental compositions.

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Dan McAvinchey: Talk about the compositional process, how did you go about writing the songs for "Avalon"?

James Rosocha: In order to compose the music for this album, I really had to get back on the piano and start practicing again. I cracked open all of my Berklee piano method books and even started teaching beginner to intermediate piano students. Something clicked and music began to pour out of me. All of the harmonies were composed on piano before the actual bass lines or melodies were added. I followed this same model on all of the tunes except "Avalon" which is a solo electric bass piece performed on a Spector NS four string.

Dan McAvinchey: Tell us a little about the gear you use to get your sound.

James Rosocha: I have an endorsement with Spector Basses, Eden Amplifiers and Hipshot Detuners. Although I've never been a five string player, Hipshot Detuners allow me the flexibility to detune my "E" string to a low "D" or "C" at the flick of a switch. I also use a Boss ME-50B multi-effects unit for reverb, digital delay and chorus options.

Dan McAvinchey: In the area of self-assessment, what do you feel like has been your greatest musical achievement to date?

James Rosocha: Persevering as an artist and performer and getting the opportunity to express myself musically while on tour in Europe has been a wonderful achievement. Finally releasing my own material and getting featured in Bass Musician Magazine was also a huge accomplishment.

Dan McAvinchey: From a publicity and promotion standpoint, what do you find is working best for you at the moment?

James Rosocha: In order to increase your visibility and gain a position in the mind of your listener or target audience, I feel it's important to invest in a public relations firm that specializes in the entertainment industry. I found that trying to do everything myself was time consuming and I didn't have the connections that a professional public relations firm would have already established. Also selling your product on a site such as CD Baby without a marketing strategy could be detrimental to your sales. There are some good music marketing courses out there to invest in.

Dan McAvinchey: What do you now find to be the advantages and disadvantages of being an independent musician?

James Rosocha: As an independent musician, you have the opportunity to collect all of the profits from your album sales. The bad side to this is the CD will never reach the geographic scope and population that it could reach with the help of a label. You could always sell your products on tour or through a well thought out marketing campaign over the internet.

Dan McAvinchey: If you could do a once-off recording project or session with any guitarist in the world, who would it be?

James Rosocha: I had the rare opportunity to perform with Trey Anastasio of Phish. If I could do a once-off album project with any guitarist in the world, it would be with Trey. I would love to be a part of his solo project when he is off the road with Phish.

Dan McAvinchey: With the new year now in full-swing, what do you have on your musical agenda for 2018?

James Rosocha: I'm practicing hard and gearing up for my summer tour with the B.D Lenz Group. We're hitting Belgium, Germany, England and Wales on a month long tour in July of this summer. I'm trying to keep a balance between all of the practicing and business related responsibilities like marketing and promotion. It keeps me very busy and keeps life interesting and always a challenge. Please visit for more information.

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Bassist James Rosocha has over 20 years of experience playing with fusion jazz guitarist BD Lenz, and quite naturally found himself wanting to write and record his own music. The result is the album "Avalon", which straddles funk, Latin, and jazz genres while allowing space to showcase his unique soloing abilities.

Dan McAvinchey conducted a long-distance interview with Rosocha to talk about "Avalon", his gear, and the songwriting process.