Musicians about Joe

Do you remember your own feelings about the music and arts education you received in public (or private) school? I always dreamed of playing bass; I loved the sound, the look, the strings, the resonance I could feel throughout my own body. I loved bass players. In third grade, when instruments were assigned like roles in the school play, but without auditions, I was told I was too short to play the bass. The violin, I was told, was “better suited” to me, and I’ve resented it to this day. When I hear a master bass player not too much taller than I am, such as Joe Fonda, I get angry, thinking of what might have been. At the same time, I think, "Yeah, Joe, you do it for all of us."

Mindy Sloan, Ph.D., unknown date

"...Mario Pavone has been one of the masters who have worked with dedication at his craft. We have known each other for years, Mr. Pavone, as well as the American master Joe Fonda. I kind of feel, in some ways, those guys have been holding me up. It’s been very beautiful. Joe Fonda is also a virtuoso bass-player-composer who has had a career of dedication to the music. Mr. Fonda and I, we come together in many different contexts as well. I would also say Mr. Fonda, along with Melinda Newman, who is a virtuoso oboe player as well as a scholar, were the people who helped me the most to put together the Tri-Centric Ensemble. I want my work to be connected with American masters of her caliber."

Anthony Braxton, 1995, interviewed by Ted Panken

"There is more to creative mastership than the surface of satisfaction and political certainty. The music of Joe Fonda is part of a living tradition of belief and dedication. Future historians will be surprised at the breadth of Mr. Fonda’s offerings. This is a real virtuoso and composer of the highest order."

Anthony Braxton, 1996

..."Full Moon" came to me in Ausria during the "limmitationes" festival in Rudersdorf. In Rudersdorf you can find about 150 houses PLUS Udo Preis, who always organizes concerts when the moon is full. On this evening Joe Fonda and Xu FengXia were standing on the stage. Joe Fonda is an unbelievably vital, crazy bassplayer from the US and Xu plays an for my point of view unspeakable chinese instrument [guzheng]. Joe Fonda roars in this austrian restaurant. "Bright lights! Bright lights! We need some bright lights in my country!" And Xu Fengxia starts hitting her instrument. They play free jazz for about an hour, interrupted only by the roars of Joe Fonda. I thought: "That’s cool! I need an austrian zither in combination wiht a funky rhythm, that would fit to this situation and that´s why the piece is called "Full Moon". Actually this piece of music is for Udo Preis."

Sandra Weckert, German saxophonist, interviewed by Al Weckert ©2005