Ken Basman 1958-2016
Words compiled by Suzanne Ludekens
I first met Ken at Tio Lucas in late 2006, listening to him play I realized I was hearing something very special, almost other worldly in the dexterity and fluidity Ken exhibited. Effortless playing comes to mind, too. His ears were incredible, his musical knowledge encyclopedic, his musicianship impeccable. He could have been a big fish in a big pond if he had wanted to, thankfully he chose San Miguel.
He taught me to like music when we were just 11. He was a great cousin. I will miss him.
—Howard (Howie) Belman
Sentado en la batería del Tío Lucas todavia no puedo asimilar que no te volveremos a ver hermano, cómo voy a extrañar tu presencia física, ese súper swing, las frases, tu perfect time, tu sentido del humor tan particular…Cuántos conciertos, clínicas, festivales, fiestas… cuánto aprendizaje…Qué fortuna la mía. Y ahora que entra el verano y la luna es lo suficientemente brillante para iluminar los senderos despegas en ese viaje definitivo… Acá seguiremos en la lucha para honrar tu memoria con la disciplina, dedicación, amor y pasión por la música y la vida. Gracias.
Ken was one of my closest friends and our musical relationship was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. It was the very definition of the word “connection.” We would sit down to play without speaking, without even thinking—just hands on our instruments and “Go!” He listened so closely. It was amazing to hear what I was playing coming back at me, modified by his creativity, at the SAME TIME. I’m sure that sounds impossible, but that’s the way it worked.He was part Jim Hall, part Jeff Beck, part John Scofield and still somehow all Ken. No one could have had as much fun as I did.
Ken Basman Blues Guitar es una composición dedicada a él y a su enorme talento, espíritu, humildad, profesionalismo, y gran humanidad. Mi amigo me pesa y duele mucho tu ausencia, algun día nos volveremos a encontrar. ¡Nunca te voy a olvidar capitano!
20 years ago as I was walking down the streets in San Miguel de Allende I heard an incredible, clear, melodic, beautiful sound coming out from a bar. Curious, I followed the trace to meet Ken Basman, who right away became one of my beloved friends, collaborator, and one of my favorite guitar players ever. He brought so much joy to my heart with his sound. Probably he will keep singing through his strings in his new journey, maybe if we look up we will see the clouds dancing along…but still, I will miss him immensely
Se fue un gran amigo y gran músico, Ken Basman. Te vamos a extrañar mucho. Pervives en la gran música que nos dejaste, truly an amazing musician-virtuoso y soulful, un verdadero personaje auténtico de la música. We Will miss you, Ken.
—Lila Downs and Paul Cohen
The world has lost a brilliant guitarist, composer, and musician and I, a dear friend. Ken was the most incredible guitarist and to play next to him night after night was such an honor! I always applauded his solos. He was so inventive, so virtuosic, so imaginative, swung so hard and so deep. He was an improviser, jazz and blues guitarist of the highest level, and you knew it was Ken from the first note he played. Ken was such a wonderful friend and I have only great memories of the times he and I spent. In the studio or onstage, Ken was so patient, kind, and supportive.
Un gran músico, compañero y amigo ha partido el día de hoy. No hay palabras para explicar la profunda tristeza…El maestro Ken Basman…Estarás siempre en nuestro corazón… R.I.P.
A great musician, friend, and colleague has departed today. There are no words to explain the deep sadness. El maestro Ken Basman…always you will be in our hearts… R.I.P.”
Ken is gone but he will always be remembered in every song we recorded together.
Uno de los más grandes músicos y guitarristas de jazz con el cual tuve el privilegio de estudiar y convivir. Agradezco a Dios el que me haya brindado la oportunidad de conocer y tratar a un gran ser humano, tan humilde y sincero como tú. Yo te agradezco Ken, todo lo que hiciste por mi, por mi familia y por la escuela. Tus aportaciones jamás se olvidarán, y te prometo seguir esforzándome por ser cada día mejor. ¡Hasta luego gran amigo!
Of all the people I have ever known in my own life, Ken was the first true pillar of humanity, of common sense, of fair play, a believer in social justice, and a lighthouse in the fog of teenage war! He turned me on to as many books as he did to albums. Ken never took on anything without completing it, showing all of us what hard work, and what we musicians call wood-shedding, can do! Ken practiced and listened, and practiced, and listened, and became an equal best musician to anyone I have ever met, by the time he and I were 17.The world is emptier tonight!
So very sad to hear about the passing of master guitarist and San Miguel de Allende resident icon, Ken Basman—a Zen-like—presence, stunning musicality, and humility so deep that it was profound. He touched so many with his music and other talents.
¿Cómo? ¿Por qué? Los que construyen se nos van. Descansa en paz maestro de maestros.
Farewell to a Giant, a “brother,” teacher, and friend, One who taught me to change for the better.
Mi corazón está triste. Hoy falleció un gran músico, amigo y maestro, Ken Basman. Desde lo más hondo de mi ser, te envío mi fuerza y mi energía, donde quiera que te encuentres Ken. Mi respeto, admiración y afecto.
—Everyone will say he was one of the finest musicians that ever played and besides that super creative, humble, with a great sense of humor and always willing to help out anyone in the biz. Years ago he told me “well you’re in the family now whether you like it or not!” Although I’ll miss him terribly, I will always be grateful and think about the good times we had playing and hanging together over the many years.
Sólo quiero expresar el agradecimiento y aprecio que le tengo a esta gran persona.
Me duele saber que ha partido, pero me alegro por haberlo conocido y tratado de cerca. Hay tantas cosas que me enseñó, como músico y como gran persona, enseñanzas que estoy seguro que aplicaré toda la vida
Over the years we played this and that. He was an absolute bastion of musical excellence and kindness personified. We are so much less without him.