Upright and Electric/Fretless Bassist and Strings/Horn Arranger. Formerly the bassist with Jonathan Batiste & Stay Human. Other performance and/or recording credits include Harry Connick Jr., Anthony Hamilton, Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Tony Bennett. Arranging credits include Late Show with Steven Colbert, Jonathan Batiste, Jonatha Brooke.
I specialize in upright and electric (fretted and fretless) basses and arranging for strings, horns, woodwinds, choir and full orchestra or jazz big band. I am known for a “straight ahead jazz”, smooth jazz, and R&B/Soul sound with lush textures and smooth lines. I can lay down both upright (pizz and arco) and bass guitar tracks. I can record 1-2 instruments at a time, or larger instrumentation with 1-2 mics, and can produce arrangements using a combination of live and/or programmed instruments for a wide variety of sonic textures.
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3 ReviewsEndorse Philip Kuehn
I can confidently say that Philip Kuehn is my #1 call for my studio and live bass needs. With an incredibly vast musical vocabulary, Philip is able to deliver any genre of bass line needed and always gives me multiple takes of variations. If something isn't working to my liking, he is completely willing to rework the idea until it does work. As far as arranging goes, Philip gives special attention to supporting the melody and makes musical choices that heighten the emotion of the song and create a mood. I can't say enough about Philip and his abilities.
Phil is the finest professional bassist that I know personally. Seeing him in live performances, hearing recordings, and taking classes from him have all only reinforced my opinion of this. This last fall I was working on my first self-released album, and knew Phil was the only option for recording bass. I wanted my album to be the best it could be, so I could only choose the best. Phil executed his recordings perfectly, and I had to do next to no extra work to assimilate his recordings into the rest of the album. I only wish I was allowed more words in this review to further endorse Phil.
One of the absolute MOST IMPORTANT THINGS you can do as a record producer or artist is hire the best musical foundation possible. One of the most important fundamental, foundational elements at the foundation of all music is the bassist. Phil Kuehn is one of the very best hires I’ve ever made. I’ve been honored to have him do work for me in studio sessions, as well as live application, and he exceeded my expectations every time! He is the quintessential professional... Great spirited, easy to work with, and ALWAYS giving more than what’s required. To hire Phil is to honor your craft.
Interview with Philip Kuehn
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I had a ton of fun arranging Strings and Choir on Jon Batiste's Christmas album "Christmas with Jon Batiste" in 2016. I played bass as well. It was fun to bring a creative role as a bassist, and then amplify that creativity through arranging.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Several arrangements of gospel songs for custom instrumentation.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Philip Lassiter! Trumpet player and Arranger. Killer!
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I will treat their project as a unique entity, and make sure I "nail" whatever vibe their music calls for. My main priority is that my work matches the purpose of their project.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Music is an outlet for life expression!
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That it is not work!
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What goal do you have for your music? What sound are you going for? What is the intention?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Know that I will put in the time to get it right.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Upright Bass, Fretless Godin Bass, Ernie Ball Stingray, Apollo Twin Duo, Laptop, M-Audio Axiom mini-32 (I know that's 6!)
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been playing, recording and arranging for 20 years professionally. I've been teaching professionally for 8 years.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Straight ahead jazz, Soul, Funk, Gospel, Lush Strings and Horns.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Many! Diana Krall, Norah Jones, Tori Kelly, Kirk Franklin, Bruno Mars.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Aim for quality over quantity.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Jazz, Soul, Social Music, Gospel, etc.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Bass playing and arranging.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Creative, soulful and grooving basslines. For arranging - lush, smooth, full and contrasting harmonies, lines and voicings.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I am a perfectionist. I don't like to send work back until it's the way I want it to be. That said - I work hard until the job is done.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I use an AKG C414 XL mic to record upright bass. I run the mic through a Universal Audio Apollo Twin Duo Interface and record the electric/fretless bass either direct through that interface, or through an Aguilar ToneHammer Preamp first. I can also record electric bass amplified through a microphone.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Bass: Ray Brown, Ron Carter, Paul Chambers, Jaco Pastorius, Pino Palladino, Marcus Miller
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Record bass tracks (electric and upright) and arrange for strings, horns and choir