Bassist Rob Wasserman Dead

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Rob WassermanBassist extraordinaire Rob Wasserman died June 29, 2016, at the age of 63 or 64 (his birth date seems to be a mystery). It was reported that he was suffering from and hospitalized for cancer, though no cause of death was given at press time.

The Grammy-winning San Francisco area resident has played with a blue-ribbon list of classic rock artists that includes Bob Weir, Van Morrison, Lou Reed, Elvis Costello, Jerry Garcia, Brian Wilson, Neil Young, Jackson Browne, Bruce Cockburn, Ani di Franco, David Grisman, Rickie Lee Jones, Aaron Neville, Pete Seeger, Jules Shear, Chris Whitley, Laurie Anderson, Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo and Ratdog. He also released nine albums either of his own or in collaboration with artists like Weir and Garcia. Among those who also performed or collaborated with Wasserman on his recordings are Bobby McFerrin, Stéphane Grappelli, Willie Dixon and Branford Marsalis as well as Reed, Wilson, Jones and Costello. His 1989 release Duets was nominated for three Grammy Awards and won the Best Jazz Vocal Grammy for that album’s track “Brothers” with McFerrin.

Fellow bassist Leland Sklar wrote on Facebook: “Very sad news hearing of Rob’s passing. My heart is with his family.”

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Wasserman started out playing violin and switched to bass as a teenager. He studied composing with noted modern composer John Adams and symphonic bass at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Starting in the late 1980s he worked with Weir and the two toured as a duo for seven years. In 1995 the two formed RatDog, which became Weir’s primary post-Grateful Dead band. In recent years Weir and Wasserman also performed as Scaring The Children.

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