Options in A minor with bassist Edgar Pagán

Professional bassist, Edgar Pagán shares a few options in A-minor that are sure to bring depth to your playing and color to your arrangements.

Image: Sandy Roe

The down-low on Edgar

Edgar Pagán has been performing music for over 25 years and has shared the stage with Spyro Gyra, Xtreme, Ismael Miranda, Andy Montanez, Lou Gramm, B.B. King, Dave Valentin, Bernie Williams, [Read about Bernie Williams promoting music education] Ambrosia, Bela Fleck, Earl Slick, Bernard Fowler, Joey Molland, and Average White Band to name a few.

He is founder, leader, and bassist for CNY standout and SAMMY winner “Grupo Pagán” . He also plays bass and tours with vocalist/songwriter Mary Fahl (former Lead Singer for October Project). In addition he is bassist for guitarist extraordinaire Mark Doyle’s Guitar Noir project, world renowned percussionist Emedin Rivera and his Tropical Turbulence Band, Great White and XYZ’s vocalist Terry Ilous and the Vagabonds.

Living in the world of bass

Chuck Schiele: What does a life as a bass player mean to you?

Edgar Pagán: First of all, thanks for allowing me the honor to speak with you, Chuck. I appreciate all your hard work and support!
I would describe it as a passion, a force that drives me. It’s difficult to explain. There’s a special and addictive feeling I get when I see how the bass moves people. I also love the life long challenge that playing an instrument brings. Although it can be frustrating, there’s a beautiful vibe that happens as you progress.

I continue to strive for the audience and my fellow musicians.

Chuck Schiele: What gets you interested in working with any particular artist?

Edgar Pagán: Their vibe and attitude. There’s a difference between confidence and cockiness. I dig artists that are comfortable pushing the envelop and trying something different. It may not always work, but let’s give it a try. I’ve also noticed that the really good ones seem to be humble and giving, open to suggestions and good listeners.

Chuck Schiele: The top 3 habits that make you the player you are today:

Edgar Pagán:
1. Practice, practice, practice.
2. A positive attitude. Treat others the way you’d like to be treated.
3. I’m willing to play what’s needed for the song. The groove, dynamics, and feel are priority.

Chuck Schiele: Are there things that happen in your off-stage life that factor into your onstage world?

Edgar Pagán: Yes. Music is very emotional and spiritual to me. The attitude and spirit on the stage can affect the music. We all deal with stuff but I try and leave it off the stage. It’s also important to do your homework and be prepared, especially if you want to be invited back! To me, rehearsals are not the time to learn parts but to bring the music together and refine the show.

Chuck Schiele: The art of listening. Please discuss.

Edgar Pagán: So important when it comes to the vibe of the song and interaction with the other musicians. Things happen on stage that may require you to adjust; different styles of music require different approaches. Also, working with different musicians also can require adjusting. As a bassist, I try to work with the drummer to make the song feel good. Different drummers feel things differently, as do bassists, so you adjust and work together for the good of the song.

Chuck Schiele: Main role and soul of the bass as you see it.

Edgar Pagán: THE GROOVE, BABY!  Different styles of music require a different feel. I listen and study the style of music I will be playing. It may sound silly, but I also make an effort to dance  to it; it helps me feel the groove.

Good gear and sound are important as they deliver what moves the audience.

Chuck Schiele: What would you say to a kid interested in picking up the bass?

Edgar Pagán: Make an effort to understand what the other instruments are doing and where you fit in. Be aware of how it all works together. It also helps to be able to play some piano and/or guitar.

If you’re really interested in pursuing music as a career learn as much about it as you can! And finally practice, practice, practice until you’re blue in the face and then practice, practice, practice Hard work pays off.

Merchandise and other goods from Edgar


Chuck Schiele is an award-winning musician, producer, editorialist, artist, activist and music fan. He still plays every day.

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