Michael Montgomery writes: "This short solo for double bass and string orchestra was written for David S., a young middle school bassist, at the request of his orchestra teacher. David had progressed wonderfully in his second year of study, catching the attention of the teacher, who wished to feature him in the end of the year Spring concert. With the unfortunate happenings of the pandemic, however, face to face class meetings were suspended, the academic school year was completed via online remote learning, and the Spring concert had to be cancelled – David’s moment in the spotlight would have to wait.
The title is, of course, a takeoff on the “Who’s on First” comedy routine of Abbott and Costello in which the player Who actually is on first base. In this piece the soloist is accompanied by string orchestra (or string quintet) with a subtle (yet quite important) part added for claves. Here the typical five note rhythmic pattern of Cuban Salsa (the “clave”, literally the key) is altered slightly, with the second note of the rhythm occurring on beat three rather on the “and” of two. This clave is indeed the key to much of the rhythmic material in the solo and string parts, especially the manner in which the downbeat of the second measure (of the two measure clave) is anticipated."
Who's On First Bass will also be published in editions for double bass and piano or double bass ensemble.
Double bassist Michael Montgomery, a student of Robert Rohe and Lucas Drew, has a Doctor of Musical Arts degree, played in the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra for many years, and now lives in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, where he teaches at the University of Arkansas Fayetteville and the Suzuki Music School of Arkansas. His articles have been published in American Suzuki Journal, Bass World, and Pastoral Music.