ARTIST FEATURE: Jorge Roeder from ‘Overcome’

We’re highlighting the outstanding artists involved in the Overcome project. This comes as we count down to May 15, the cutoff for our vinyl pledge campaign. We’re at 66% of our goal to make the LPs. Please help put us over the top! Go here to pledge.

Bassist Jorge Roeder is originally from Lima, Peru and is now based in New York City. The biography on his website really encapsulates his work: “Combining a symphonic imagination with the intimate lyricism of a folk musician, the aggressive energy of a raw rocker with the buoyant rhythmic sensibilities of his Afro-Peruvian roots, Roeder conveys a wide spectrum of influences within a resolute foundation.”

Roeder is involved in projects with Sofia Rei, Shai Maestro and Ryan Keberle (he plays on all of Ryan’s Catharsis records!) and has performed with jazz heavyweights Gary Burton, Nels Cline, Kenny Werner and John Zorn. He was the winner of the 2007 International Society of Bassists Jazz Competition, a semi-finalist in the 2009 Thelonious Monk Bass Competition, and he received a Grammy nomination in 2018 for his playing on Julian Lage’s album Modern Lore.

We reached out to Jorge to get his insights on the making of recorded-from-home Overcome as well as his thoughts on music and more.

What are the projects most dear to you during this time of separation? Any special musical experiences you’ve encountered?

Some of the most important projects I’m involved in thus far have released recordings during this time. Also, I released my first album , El Suelo Mio, during this time and had the time to patiently go through the process. In normal times it would have been more stressful for me to do that work.

I encountered a special musical experience in the form of a series of remote performances with the pianist Dan Tepfer, with whom I was able to play in real time through an app named jacktrip, which allows people to play almost without latency. It was an incredible practice for me, it made me work on clarity of time and ideas.

What adaptations did you have to make to record yourself?

Luckily I had a pretty decent setup to begin with, but I had to get myself a better microphone. Also, I hung drapes all over my room to deaden it.

What contributions do music and the arts make to your life and to the life of our culture and society?

It is everything to my life. Like we may constantly seek to breathe better air, I try to stay connected with profound, thoughtful art. I believe it’s more indispensable than our society at large cares to admit.

Does the unity of purpose we felt in making Overcome during a time of widespread social justice movements and a crucial election carry on in this new period of transition?

I believe that artists joining forces for a cause as worthy as social justice is one of the most important things we can do. The fight is constant, regardless of who is in charge.

What is your latest project either in development or recently emerged?

I am working on a duo record with Argentinian vocalist Sofia Rei. We’ve been playing this music together for over fifteen years, so I’m excited that we are finally showing this to the world.

Dave Douglas said the following on Jorge’s contributions to the project:
Jorge sent back some tracks that were so right and natural they were a dream to play with. He has the ability as a bass player to feel how his part should fit with everyone else, and this case, before anyone else had played. After the project was done he explained that he had improvised completely on one of the tunes because he didn’t have a score. When I pointed out that I had sent him the score, we both agreed it came out better this way in the end anyway.

We hope you’ll support the campaign to put Overcome on vinyl here.