Von Essen, Eric
- Gary W. Kennedy
(b Chicago, June 30, 1954; d Sweden, Aug 14, 1997). Double bass player. His father was Swedish and his mother, who was from India, performed classical Indian dance. During the 1960s he lived with his family in New Haven, Connecticut, where he studied piano and double bass and also learned to play guitar, tablā, and chromatic harmonica. In the mid-1970s he moved west to study composition at the University of California, Los Angeles; although he left the university after a year to work as a performer, he later completed his BA. In summer 1978 he studied tablā in India. While working in the Los Angeles area von Essen developed associations with many musicians, most importantly Alex Cline, Nels Cline (with whom he recorded in a duo in 1980), Vinny Golia, the violinist Jeff Gauthier, and the pianist Wayne Peet; in 1979 he formed the group Quartet Music with the Cline brothers and Gauthier. From the early 1980s he appeared regularly at Linda’s, a bar in Los Angeles, performing with such pianists as Alan Broadbent, Lou Levy, Gerry Wiggins, and Jimmie Rowles; he continued to work with Levy and Rowles into the 1990s, recording under Levy’s leadership (...