george costanza Posted January 11, 2003 Share Posted January 11, 2003 The tall, loquacious member of the magic act Penn & Teller has apparently been an amateur on electric bass guitar for 20 years ("...never seriously, never practicing, just enough to jam with friends in rock bands..."). After a Las Vegas show a couple of years ago, during which he stood in for Dick Smothers in a Smothers Bros. sketch, he became enamored of the acoustic upright. "From the first time I touched the upright it just felt right! I loved how the sound went right through me, the physical connection," he says. "My ears weren't very good on the electric but on the upright the sound seemed to go right into me & I could feel when I had the right notes." After a period of lessons from bassist Morrie Loudon & a year of weekly at-home jam sesions ("I was the rich guy with all the equipment so even though I was the weakest player, people would come."), Jillette now does a 45 minute set with jazz pianist Mike Jones 6 nights a week before every Penn & Teller show. Penn plays down his onstage appearance, wearing a hat & coat & standing in shadow. "I'm a very recognizable, big guy but people don't notice me---they just don't expect the bass player in the warm-up act to be the show-off magician from the main act." He also plays down his abilities but not his love for music. "It's very humbling to play with Mike Jones. He's an unbelievable player & it's good for me because he knows exactly the level I'm at---if I get lost he instantly adjusts to cover. All this devastating music just pours over me; I think I'm in the greatest position possible." Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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