Kai Eckhardt is a
Liberian/ German bassist and composer best known for his
contribution to the John Mclaughlin Trio in the 80's, Billy
Quartet in the 90's and the band Garaj Mahal in the new Millennium. Kai
recorded and performed with Trilok Gurtu, Stanley Clarke, Wayne
Rushen, Dewey Redman, George Brooks, Donald Byrd, Bela Fleck, Maria
Saluzzi, Sertab Erener, Palle Mikkelborg, Victor Wooten, Alphonse
Mustafa Zadeh, Michael Franti, Larry Coryell, Warren Hill, Al Di Meola,
Hussain, Steve Smith, John Scofield , Bill Frisell, Mike Stern and
Kai Eckhardt has performed at distinguished venues around the globe
such as the
Royal Festival Hall in London, the Philharmonic in Munich and the
Singapore. Festival engagements include Montreal Jazz Festival, the
North Sea Jazz
Festival in the Haque, Womad World Music Festival in Spain, Summer of
Golden Gate Park and Glastonbury in the U.K.
In recent years, Kai began to distinguish himself as a first call
bassist and composer
for artistic collaborations with musicians from the Eastern regions
such as Dubai,
Qatar, Oman, India, China, Turkey, Bulgaria and the former Soviet Union.
Besides being an active performer, Kai is a passionate and experienced
educator who teaches privately and online while being a faculty member
of the Jazz
School Institute in Berkeley and the University of California, UC
Berkeley. Kai has also taught clinics and master classes
worldwide with engagements at: Berklee School of Music in Boston, the
Bass Collective in New York, the Musician’s Institute in
Hollywood, the Anton Bruckner Conservatory in Austria, Amsterdam
Conservatory in the Netherlands, Victor Wooten’s Bass andNature
camp, the Golden Gate Bass camp San Francisco, and the Subbulakshmi
Institute in Chennai, India.
Eckhardt was born the year of 1961 in Mainz/ Germany, raised by his German mother in the town of Bingen until the
six. In joining his African father, Kai moved
where he spent four years attending West
African middle school. In 1970 he
returned to Germany
into foster care. During this period Kai
developed a talent in competitive sports,
gymnastics and diving. In 1972, Kai won the title “junior
district champion” in the one-and
three meter board diving competitions. After
a series of injuries Kai turned away from
competitive sports and
discovered music. A bass guitar was
to him by a school mate and he began
practicing seriously. Besides music,
academics where an important factor in Kai’s life.
Kai received his German high
school diploma in 1980, finishing with
the second best grade point average of his class.
1982 Kai conscientiously objected to the German army.
After being interviewed at a military court,
he was released from the draft.
substitution for the army training, Kai
became a nurse’s assistant at the
Children’s Neurological Institute in Mainz/
for severely handicapped inpatients. Throughout
his service Kai
remained faithful to his instrument, the bass guitar.
After receiving a scholarship
to Berklee College of Music, Kai left Germany to
attend music college in Boston,
in the year of 1983. After graduating with honors
in 1987, Kai began his active touring life as
a bassist, clinician and composer. He has been on the road ever
averaging between 100 and 120 shows a year.
music, Kai has developed a strong
interest in social justice and environmental issues.
In the past he has helped put together
benefits for the homeless, rallies for green collar jobs and poetry projects
featuring socially conscious messages. He
has collaborated on projects with activists Julia
Hill, Deb Delman, Alli Chagi-Starr, Van Jones and Majora Carter among
others. For the first time
as leader of his own group, Kai is developing
a concept bringing together the worlds of music, environmental
Kai Eckhardt resides in Berkeley,
with his wife and two children.
- Highlghts 2009-2012 -
performed with Garaj Mahal across the US and Canada.
-European Tour with
keyboard diva RAD (formerly Prince)
-Japanese Tour with Alex
Machacek and Marco Minnemann
-Featured performer at
the symposium “Bioneers conference”
in San Rafael
-Concerts in Qatar, Oman
and the United Arab Emirats
-Performance with Trilok
Gurtu and Theodossi Spassov in Bulgaria
-Akbank Jazz Festival
-Appearance at the Asian
Games in Guangzhu,
-Honoree at the 2010
-National TV broadcast
in Istanbul/ Turkey with the Turkophony Allstars.
-Featured performer at
Java Jazz Festival in Indonesia with
-Tour of Germany with
-Featured performer and
instructor at “Jazzaar” Switzerland
-Concert and recording
with Turkish fretless guitarist Cenk Erdogan
-Live show at the Indian
embassy in Muscat with ‘Naad’ from
-Featured artist at the
Rocky Mountain bass bash in Boulder Colorado
-Featured artist and
instructor at Victor Wooten’s Bass and
-Live shows with Ray
Manzarek and Michael Mclure
-Live shows with Linda
Tillery, George Brooks and Barbara Higbie
-The debut of Kai
Eckhardt's Zeitgeist at Yoshi's, San Francisco
-The conception of
"Picasso's dream" an interactive multi-medial
-Teacher at the Golden
Gate Bass Camp San Francisco 2012
-Launching of the George
Brooks/Kai Eckhardt tangential experience
-Headlining performer at
the Ankara Jazz Festival Turkey 2012.
- Highlights 2013/2014
- -New recording
with Billy Cobham at Fantasy Studios Berkeley, to be released.
-Clinic and Masterclass tour of Germany, Switzerland and the
-Seat on the Jury of the "Keep and Eye" Jazz competition in Amsterdam.
-Kai Eckhardt joins the faculty at UC Berkeley, University of California
-Tour of Turkey and Cyprus with Aydin Esen band
-USA West Coast Tour with the Everyone Orchestra
- Formation of the new Kai Eckhardt band
-Completion of new solo recording "Zeitgeist"
- -Tour of India
with George Brooks, Zakir Hussain, Ranjit Barot and Kala
- -Recording of new
DVD series 'Atomic Bass-Time Continuum' Release: May 2014.