Jeffry Eckels: A Bass Virtuoso With a Genuine Soul
The notes from his bass were precise. Intentional. Polished. Elegant. Full of heart and soul. A real gift for all of us who shared the stage with him, and beyond us, the audience who benefitted from the energy that invaded us and the synergy that he contributed to create.
Last Friday I received the heart-wrenching news that a dear friend who was the bassist that recorded my first album “I’m Confessin’”, Jeffry Eckels, had passed away.
I was unconsoled. Even though he lived in a different city, Denton, after the recording and release of the album in 2013, we kept in contact over the years. He had visited my house and stayed overnight when I invited him to participate at two jazz series that I was organizing back in 2017. We had made plans to do more visits, play other shows together.
Not only was Jeffry one of the best bassist in Texas, admired by both seasoned musicians and pupils alike, but he was also a composer, band leader and educator. He was a professor at the University of North Texas in Denton.
He was generous with his love, his energy, his music, with his words. Not only he left all his plentiful gifts, superb playing, and ideas impregnated in my album "I'm Confessin'", but in the beautiful words that he shared about our experience playing together on the documentary that we recorded of the making of the album.
The notes from his bass were precise. Intentional. Polished. Elegant. Full of heart and soul. A real gift for all of us who shared the stage with him, and beyond us, the audience who benefitted from the energy that invaded us and the synergy that he contributed to create. Being accompanied by him meant a celebration of music and connection, playfulness, and musical eloquence. He was full of brilliant ideas with incredible musical sensibility, all with a great dose of team playing and positivism. Jeffry was truly a bass virtuoso and a genuine soul.
His departure leaves a deep wound in my heart. His absence is a terrible loss for the Jazz world in Texas and beyond. Please help me praying for him and his family!
I will miss you deeply Jeffry Eckels. The world will. Your world will.
Rest in peace my dear friend. I will keep your sounds and your smile forever in my memory.
The making of "I'm Confessin'" with Raquel Cepeda, Jeffry Eckels, Paul English, dean Macomber, and Andy Bradley
More photos Raquel Cepeda's "I'm Confessin'" release party, back on April 13, 2013. Jeffry Eckels on bass, Paul English on piano, Eddie Akhmetchine on sax, and Dean Macomber on drums. Photos: Diana Simonetta.
Raquel Cepeda, Houston Jazz Singer