jay anderson

Jay Anderson provided bass for Frank Zappa's "Thing-Fish" album. He can also be heard on the 1984 re-release (overdubs) of "Cruising With Ruben & The Jets", and probably also on "The Man From Utopia" remix.



  1978 herman, woody- la fiesta   
  1980 hino, terumasa- live in warsaw   
  1981 sullivan, ira- ira sullivan does it all   
  1981 mcrae, carmen- live at bubba's  
  1982 rodney, red- sprint   
36 frank zappa: the man from utopia
   (1983, lp, usa, barking pumpkin)

  the mothers of invention: cruising with ruben & the jets (5)
   (-) - bass overdubs on the 1984 re-release


frank zappa: thing-fish
   (1984, 3lp, usa, barking pumpkin)


1985 mintzer, bob- first decade

  1986 akiyoshi, toshiko- wishing peace  
  1986 rodney, red- no turn on red   
  1986 wallace, bennie- brilliant corners   
  1987 waits, tom- frank's wild years   
  1988 denon jazz sampler, vol. 3   

1988 dial, garry- dial & oates (acoustic bass)

  1988 spies- by way of the world (arranger, keyboards, computers/sound tracks, acoustic bass)   
  1988 kelly, julie- some other time   
  1988 rodney, red- one for bird   
  1988 rodney, red- red snapper   
  1989 weiskopf, walt- exact science   
  1989 code red- code red   
  1989 belden, bob- treasure island   
  1989 bernhardt, warren- heat of the moment (acoustic bass)   
  1989 belden, bob- straight to my heart: the music of   
  1990 campbell, john- turning point   
  1990 brecker, michael- now you see it...now you don't   
  1990 watkins, mitch- curves   

1990 bernhardt, warren- ain't life grand (bass, piano) 

  1991 bernhardt, warren- reflections (acoustic bass)  
  1991 calderazzo, joey- in the door   
  1991 schaefer, hal- solo, duo, trio   
  1991 dial & oatts- brassworks (acoustic bass)  
  1991 stryker, dave- passage   
  1992 cooley live- livewire (background vocals)   
  1992 jay anderson- next exit  

1992 wall, jeremy- stepping to the new world

  1992 stern, mike- standards (and other songs) (acoustic bass)   
  1992 samples- underwater people (engineer, mixing)   
  1992 rodney, red- then and now   
  1992 schneider, maria- evanescence   
  1993 dial & oatts- dial & oatts play cole porter   
  1993 rogers, billy- guitar artistry of billy   
  1993 okoshi, tiger- echoes of a note (a tribute to louis (bass, acoustic bass)  
  1993 delano, peter- peter delano   
  1993 jamal ski- roughneck reality   
  1993 vitro, roseanna- softly   
  1993 sara k.- play on words   
  1993 arriale, lynne- eyes have it (bass, acoustic bass)   
  1993 cables, george- i mean you   
  1993 mintzer, bob- only in new york   
  1993 bley, paul- if we may   
  1994 salvatore, sergio- tune up   
  1994 perry, rich- beautiful love   
  1994 davis, michael- midnight crossing (bass, acoustic bass)   
  1994 belden, bob- shades of blue   
  1994 jay anderson- local color  
  1994 best of chesky jazz & classics, vol   
  1995 bley, paul- speachless   
  1995 hart, john- high drama   
  1995 sample, joe- old places, old faces   
  1995 mintzer, bob- big band trane   
  1995 perry, rich- what is this?   
  1995 chesky woodwinds collection   
  1995 collection, vol. 1   
  1995 lamb, chuck- as above so below (acoustic bass)   
  1996 brisker, gordon- gift   
  1996 stryker, dave- blue to the bone   

1996 dion, celine- falling into you (acoustic bass) 

  1996 juris, vic- pastels   
  1996 bley, paul- reality check   
  1996 cables, george- skylark   
  1996 rodney, red- tivoli sessions   
  1996 juris, vic- moonscape   
  1997 burner- burner   
  1997 wilson, glenn- porpoise avenue   
  1997 ferre brothers- new york   
  1997 sample, joe- sample this   
  1997 cables, george- dark side, light side   
  1997 konitz, lee- dearly beloved   
  1997 smith, louis- there goes my heart   
  1997 best of smooth jazz   
  1997 perry, rich- left alone   
  1997 konitz, lee- out of nowhere  
  1998 sample, joe- best of joe sample   
  1998 blue box, vol. 2: finest jazz vocal   
  1998 jvc xrcd, vol. 2 sampler   
  1998 okoshi, tiger- color of soil  
  1998 mintzer, bob- quality time   
  1998 greenfield, haze- jazz-a-ma-tazz  

random notes

     From: Patrick Neve
Jay played bass on Thing Fish... "Briefcase Boogie" to be sure, though
I'm not sure which others.  He also did bass overdubs on the 1984 remix of Cruising with Ruben and the Jets.  He has last been seen playing a gig at the Blue Note in NYC with the  Steve Slagle Quintet (12/13/99). 

     From: Downbeat
Bassist/composer Jay Anderson takes center stage on his debut recording
Next Exit with Randy Brecker on trumpet & flugelhorn, Billy Drewes on reeds, drummer Jeff Hirshfield, guitarist Wayne Krantz & keyboardist Dave Witham.  Local Color also explores post-bop modern jazz with special guest Toots Thielemans. "Anderson's versatile, fixed ensemble quickly stakes out a sound and then navigates multiple variations thereof. This is a bona fide band of considerable breadth.

     From: MHaugh

Hi, just letting you know that in the Jay Anderson discography, the Jay Anderson doing the photographs (the Ruby Braff listing) is Jay Anderson the jazz photographer, and he's not the same guy as the bass player.

     From: Jack P. Armstrong

During "Briefcase Boogie," right after Thing Fish says "Sister Obdewllla?!" a trumpet or something in the background plays what sounds like the trombone lick in "Debra Kadabra" that makes fun of that movie. it repeats the lick more than once, and sounds very similar, but not exactly like the "Kadabra" one - is this intentional, you think?

     From: Patrick Neve

That would be Jay Anderson bowing an upright bass.  You can hear him plucking it earlier in the song.  Gosh it sure sounds more like a cello to me.. he must be playing the highest registers of the instrument.  Thanks for pointing out that part of the song.. I hadn't heard it this closely before, and I think there's some interesting interplay between the upright bass, vocals, electric bass and drums.  It starts off with Jay playing along to Chad and the electric bass player (who is that?  Barrow? Thunes?) ... and later during the section you describe (:53) the bowed instrument is presumably playing the part of Sister Obdwella X.
(Is that a correct assumption?)

As far as the "Brainiac quote", I'd say it was unintentional, but who knows.  Probably Jay knows. Sounds like it's about 4 of the 5 correct notes, and it might even be in the same key, but I haven't checked that out.  My hunch is that if Frank had wanted that line to be quoted he would have made it a wee bit more obvious.. most of that album kind of hits you over the head.  So that would leave the options that (A) Jay quoted the Brainiac of his own accord on the spot, or (B) it was just an improvised moment of shmaltz that ended up sounding alike.

     From: Arthur Barrow

I do not play upright acoustic bass! That is someone else on Ruben. Maybe Jay Anderson (string bass on Thingfish)? I'm not sure, but I think it was Jay.

     From: JAnderson     

The reality is that my involvement w/Zappa was 1 day of work, but what an interesting day it was. 

Chad Wackerman was an old friend of mine. Frank asked if he could recommend and acoustic bassist. I was the guy. My schedule was nuts because I was permanently moving to NYC the day after the session....in fact I had to borrow a bass because mine was already in NY.

To be honest, I wasn't that familiar with Zappa's work. I knew that he was an amazing musician and looked forward to working with him. He had evidently just gotten the rights to some of his older music back from WB(?) in a lawsuit that he won. (you probably know more about it than me)

I was the only person at the session.....aside from Frank and the engineer. I was there for about 12 hours. I don't know if Zappa even knew what was going to be what. He just wanted to get as much out of me in those 12 hours as he could....I was happy to oblige. I had heard about the difficulty of his music, so I was a little apprehensive about the task that lay ahead of me. Oddly enough, I didn't read one note of music.

Some of the work was replacing the bass parts on some old M.O.I. stuff. We would listen together...he'd ask my opinion, I'd transcribe the tune & bass parts and go. We probably did 8-10 tunes like that. The rest was just improvising over pre-existing live tapes and some studio stuff.

I remember at one point he said " wait 'till you hear the guy throw-up then pull out your bow and make it sound like rats running across the floor". This gives you an idea of what the session was into. It was a lot of fun.

He was very respectful, wanted my input, and was great to work with. I remember he wanted me to hear some other things he was working on. We spent an hour listening to guitar transcriptions that Steve Vai (?) had done of Franks vocal improvs. Amazing! 

I don't know if Frank knew the music was going to be Thing Fish or not. Believe it or not I've never heard it! (or any of the other stuff I did) Chad told me that the stuff I did could be on many CDs, I have no idea.

I have no idea what the Debra Kadabra thing you're talking about is.

I did the session when I was about 27 (now 44).


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