My name is Barry Sahagian, I spent most of my life playing, studying, composing, teaching, producing bass. I have been playing enough years that I have stopped counting so let’s just say half a century plus of professional experience would be accurate…. I learned my first lines from a 45 RPM vinyl record..to give you an idea.
I started playing around 12 years old on guitar…All my friends played guitar and no bass player. I volunteered to fill the gap. It was great time for musicians and I fear it will never be revisited. I do not fear it, I know it. You see, there was work everywhere for musicians. Why? there was no technology. There was the radio, vinyl records and live music, that is it!
All the nightclubs and dance halls hired live musicians to play. If a nightclub did not have a live band, it would empty most the time. Also at this time electric bass was just getting popular and nobody wanted upright bass. All the upright bassists had to switch over to electric or the phone just would not ring….Later, when I went to Berklee College, one of my bass instructors (Ron Maclure, famous New York Jazz musician) told me that when he got a call for a gig.. the person who hired him just assumed he would be on electric. The upright bass was not even mentioned.
So this put me in even better position to get gigs. As a teenager I worked constantly. A lot of the gigs were 7 nights a week and double on Sunday, 5 sets a night.
I played mostly soul music and jazz.. A little rock on the side for high school dances and other non nightclub gigs. I wanted to go to Berklee but at the time they did not a accept electric bass as a major. I decided to get a trumpet and use this as my major.
Just after I learned the major scale on the trumpet, Berklee changed their policy and now accepted electric bass as a major instrument. they also became an accredited College. No more Berklee School ..now Berklee College of music. .. I was ready, I did well over a thousand gigs before I finally got to Berklee, I was shocked to find students enrolled that had never done a single gig.
After attending Berklee, Barry toured the US and Canada playing with numerous bands full time 10 years.
After this period he settled in Boston got married and started a music publishing and teaching business. He created a publishing company (Jayne Publications) in which he wrote 32 books on bass music instruction, original compositions and DVDS. During this time was also performing part time in Boston and vicinity nightclubs, wedding and other events.
In 1999 Barry and his wife Jayne moved to the Northern Kingdom in Vermont. He and his wife expanded the publishing into an international music distribution business in which their publishing company was integrated along with music of all publishers.
The business was very successful, Barry continued to teach all the while. Barry and Jayne Sahagian used some of the business profits of the distribution company to give to the community and subsidize a jazz concert series at the Catamount Arts Center in St Johnsbury VT named “Jazz on a Sunday Afternoon” 1999 and lasted with the help and support of Reg Ainsworth (the executive director Catamount Arts Center) until 2011 at which time he retired.
The new director Jody Fried had no interest in allowing Barry and Jayne to continue the series despite it’s popularity and the fact it was a donated program of which Barry and Jayne subsidized over $20,000, all of which went to paying the musicians during the 12 years they presented the concerts every two weeks
The new director Jody Fried seemed to be mostly interested in fund raising and was once quoted to saying he would “do nothing for his contributors but just take their money to keep the Catamount going” unlike his predecessor Reg Ainsworth who prided himself on presenting artful events and use them to raise funds for the organization. Reg confessed he used “Jazz on a Sunday Afternoon” successfully as one of the key points for fund raising from the NE Foundation for the Arts.