Indie Weekend: Making The Low Notes #bassplayer #musicalmemoir #bookreviews @OpenBooksPress

Indie Weekend is my attempt to help Independent Authors with the task of marketing. Indie authors have to do it all, from cover design to editing, promotion, and more. If I can help even a little bit by sharing their wonderful books with others, I’m happy to do it.

Please share this review with your social media followers as well so we can spread the word about great Indie books as far as possible.


Bill Harrison chronicles his journey from bumbling music student to successful professional bass player in late twentieth-century Chicago. Told with a mixture of wry humor and hard-won insight, Making the Low Notes gives readers an insider’s peek into the prosaic life of a working musician. Harrison describes periods of camaraderie, disappointment, pain, and joy as he toils in venues as divergent as bowling alleys, jazz clubs, recording studios, hotels, orchestra pits, and concert halls. He shares the stage with jazz greats, including Dizzy Gillespie, James Moody, Clark Terry, Bunky Green, and Max Roach. Along the way, the bassist struggles to reconcile the dissonance between his desire to be heard and his impulse to hide silently in the shadows.


Making the Low Notes is the story of professional bass player Bill Harrison and his over 40-year career in music. This is not the glamorous tell-all you might get from a rock star. This is a story about the hard work it takes for most people to make a career in music, with its extreme ups and downs. Harrison speaks of his efforts to “stitch together a sustainable living” by playing in such varied places as bowling alleys, churches, and Broadway, and it truly is an up-and-down existence. Besides playing in gigs and theatrical productions, he started his own live music company and a business that created play-along tracks for music students. He also personally taught students to play the bass. He even delved into acting.

Besides the financial side of things, Harrison details the physical toll that being a bass player took on his body. But among the high notes are the facts that he also worked with many famous musicians and played in the orchestra for the Broadway musical Wicked.

The many anecdotes about the life of a working musician are interesting to read. This is a more realistic and unglamorous look at a way of life that many have romanticized. Only a small percentage make millions. Only a comparative few have their faces known. It was refreshing to see a different side of it. Making the Low Notes will be released on June 6, 2023.

I received a free copy of this book. My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.




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