Christopher Gorcik is a graduate of Northern Illinois University where he received a B.M. in Music Performance with a Jazz Emphasis in 1996. Chris has studied bass with Nick Schneider, Larry Gray, Marlene Rosenberg, and Greg Sarchet, as well as jazz improvisation with Robert Chappell and Fareed Haque.
In 1996, Chris traveled to Montreux, Switzerland with the NIU Jazz Ensemble to perform at the Montreux Jazz Festival for a concert honoring the music of Quincy Jones. Originally slated to act only as rehearsal stand-in, Chris was eventually asked by Quincy Jones himself to perform on the concert, sharing the bass chair with legendary bassist Nathan East. The concert was directed by Quincy Jones and featured a wealth of well-known performers including Phil Collins, Chaka Khan, David Sanborn, Patty Austin, Gerald Albright, Toots Thielemans, Steve Ferrone, and Greg Phillinganes. The concert was eventually released on DVD in 2008 as ‘Quincy Jones: 50 Years in Music’.
After graduating from NIU, Chris took a position with the world famous Glenn Miller Orchestra, traveling throughout the United States, Japan, and the Caribbean through most of 1997 and 1998. Returning home to the Chicago area, Chris began a freelance music career and quickly developed a reputation as a stylistically diverse multi-instrumentalist performing on upright bass, electric bass, guitar, keyboards, and voice.
A well-known figure in the Chicago jump blues and swing scene, Chris has been a full-time member of Chicago area swing bands The Blues Swingers and The Rhythm Rockets. In addition to jazz and blues, Chris has performed with a multitude of local artists over the years including stints with indie-rock band Naked Mile, country music artists Dayna Malow and Mark Lonsway, Caribbean rock band Mr. Myers, and New Orleans R&B artist Professor John. Chris has performed at the Chicago Jazz Festival, the Chicago Country Music Festival, Wheatland Music Festival, the Pertrillo Band Shell, the Aragon Ballroom, the House of Blues, Park West, Comisky Park, the Green Mill, and dozens of other well-known music venues throughout the Chicagoland area and the Midwest.
As a recording artist, Chris holds credits as a performer, composer, arranger, producer, or engineer on a half-dozen nationally released albums including recordings with The Blues Swingers, Naked Mile, Todd Donnelly, and Jackson Rohm. Chris is currently working on his first solo album slated to be released in the summer of 2013.
In addition to performing, Chris has actively taught private bass lessons for over 15 years through his home studio, the NIU Community School of the Arts, and Sherwood Community Music School. Since 2005, Chris has held a full time position at Sherwood Community Music School at Columbia College Chicago as Operations Manager. He currently lives in Schaumburg, IL with his wife and two children.
Preferred student age: Ages 10 and up
Preferred student level: Any level is OK
What do you want to impart to your students through your teaching? The joy of playing music. My goal is not to make someone the next musical genius, my goal is to help my students discover how much fun learning and playing music can be.
Are there specific methods or techniques that you use in your teaching that may be important to share with prospective students? I try to tailor my teaching method to each specific student, as every student learns differently. Some of the method books I may draw from most include the Simandl Method by Franz Simandl, The Improvisor's Bass Method by Chuck Sher, The Hal Leonard Bass Method, and The Jazz Language by Dan Haerle.
What do you enjoy most about teaching? Seeing the "lightbulb" moment when I explain a concept to a student 100 times, and then on the 101st time, they finally get it and are able to apply the concept to their playing.
What is your earliest musical experience or memory? Listening to my mother play Fur Elise and Moonlight Sonata on our family room piano. She taught me how to read music about the same time I learned to read words, so music was always something I just intuitively understood ever since I was very young.
Please describe one of your favorite teachers or mentors: I’ve been lucky to study with many great teachers, but I think Greg Sarchet was the most influential teacher I had the pleasure to work with. He is a naturally gifted teacher who really cared about his students and provided me with a strong foundation on my instrument.
Who is your favorite composer, or what is your favorite musical period? Although I have a deep appreciation for classical styles, my heart still lies in more modern contemporary music, and I have a very wide range in tastes and influences. Some of the artists that were most influential to me include Jaco Pastorius, Ray Brown, Christian McBride, Rocco Prestia, Miles Davis, Led Zeppelin, Rush, The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, James Jamerson, and Edgar Meyer.