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A Musical Life

A Musical Life: Dale Black Jr.

Gregg Pagani

Dale Black Jr. is a Wichita-based bassist and producer at work on a new album.


“My music is an amalgamation of all the styles that I’ve ever played. People call it jazz, I call it improvisational music. It just draws from everything. I love classical music, gospel, jazz, all those things. It’s like a gumbo.

It’s definitely a meditative experience for me. People always talk about stage fright. One of the ways that I learned to overcome stage fright as a young man was to tune everything out and go within. That’s when everything kind of flows out. When I’m on stage … I try to be in a trancelike state and whatever happens, happens.

I hate thinking onstage. When you start thinking, then you start fumbling. Overthinking is the worst thing you could do when you’re trying to make art.

It’s really important to have people who are on the same wavelength. When we’re onstage there’s not too much talking going on. I might give some directions: ‘Go to the bridge,’ or something. It’s an important thing. Everybody’s got to be on the same thought pattern.”

This commentary originally aired on February 15, 2019.