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                                               - Biography - 


Kai Eckhardt is a Liberian/ German bassist and composer best known for his
contribution to the John Mclaughlin Trio in the 80's, Billy Cobham’s International
Quartet in the 90's and the band Garaj Mahal in the new Millennium. Kai has also
recorded and performed with Trilok Gurtu, Stanley Clarke, Wayne Shorter, Patrice
Rushen, Dewey Redman, George Brooks, Donald Byrd, Bela Fleck, Maria Joao, Dino
Saluzzi, Sertab Erener, Palle Mikkelborg, Victor Wooten, Alphonse Mouzon, Aziza
Mustafa Zadeh, Michael Franti, Larry Coryell, Warren Hill, Al Di Meola, Zakir
Hussain, Steve Smith, John Scofield , Bill Frisell, Mike Stern and George Benson.
Kai Eckhardt has performed at distinguished venues around the globe such as the
Royal Festival Hall in London, the Philharmonic in Munich and the Esplanade in
Singapore. Festival engagements include Montreal Jazz Festival, the North Sea Jazz
Festival in the Haque, Womad World Music Festival in Spain, Summer of Love at
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 music
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.

                                                       - Life story -


Kai Eckhardt  was born the year of 1961 in Mainz/ Germany,  raised by his German mother in the town of Bingen until the age of six. In joining his African father, Kai  moved to  Monrovia, Liberia 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, excelling  in track, 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 given 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. 

In 1982 Kai conscientiously objected to the German army.  After being interviewed at a military court, he was released from the draft. 
In substitution for the army training,  Kai became a nurse’s assistant at  the Children’s Neurological Institute in Mainz/ Germany, caring 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, MA 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 since. averaging between 100 and 120 shows a year.

Besides 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 Butterfly 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 awareness and activism.  Today Kai Eckhardt resides in Berkeley, California,  with his wife and two children.  

                                - Highlghts 2009-2012 - 


-120 shows 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 Istanbul
-Appearance at the Asian Games in Guangzhu,
-Honoree at the 2010 Liberian Awards
-National TV broadcast in Istanbul/ Turkey with the Turkophony Allstars.
-Featured performer at Java Jazz Festival in Indonesia with “Eastmania”.
-Tour of Germany with Garaj Mahal.
-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 Calcutta
-Featured artist at the Rocky Mountain bass bash in Boulder Colorado
-Featured artist and instructor at Victor Wooten’s Bass and Nature camp
-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 project.
-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 Netherlands.
-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 Ramnath
-Recording of new DVD series 'Atomic Bass-Time Continuum' Release: May 2014.