Ryan Gould has been in high demand as a string bassist in Austin, Texas since 1999. He performs in various genres, specializing in early American jazz. Sharing the stage with great Texas musicians Floyd Domino, Erik Hokkanen, Jim Cullum, Jon Doyle, The Jazz Pharaohs, and many others, he strives to keep audiences happily engaged in the music and the shared experience. He has, through the development of his own unique style and research of early jazz and swing, become an internationally respected exponent of slap bass, a technique used in the early twentieth century now rarely used and mastered by only a small number of artists.
With a very diverse musical background he infuses his distinctive style and experience into his musical engagements while graciously respecting the roots and traditions of his inspirations. “The music I play is alive and breathing; it’s a deeply meaningful communication shared by all who are willing to take part in the conversation. I’m thankful to be a part of it; I also feel responsible for guiding it and ourselves to new places.”
Currently, Ryan can be found on stages in Austin and around the country with Thrift Set Orchestra, Aunt Ruby’s Sweet Jazz Babies, Cats and the Canary, The East Side Dandies, Jonathan Doyle Swingtet, The Copa Kings, and The Big Jug Band, among others. The most recent additions to his bass responsibilities are The Texas Moaners, The Golden Hour Quartet, Rock Step Relevators, and The Little Kings.
While the string bass takes a prominent role in his professional pursuits, an active study of ukulele, guitar, saxophone, voice, and uilleann pipes has allowed Ryan many opportunities to engage in his own musical growth as well as many community-building endeavors.
Ryan has always held a great fondness for sharing music’s many gifts with others, to build both individual and community. In 2000, he co-founded The Big Jug Band and Austin Bass Hang, two community music endeavors that have become treasured learning pursuits and performing outlets for those groups’ participants. He also co-founded Hot Rhythm Foundation, a local non-profit that celebrates (through education, participation, and presentation) the “hot” music and dance associated with the early twentieth century.
His interest in community music and community building sent him (and his wife) to Ireland to earn an MA in Community Music from the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick.
In addition to his efforts in Ireland, Ryan has also spent the last ten(+) years studying a number of movement disciplines that directly influence his approaches to learning, teaching, performing, and experiencing all aspects of music. He currently holds the rank of Yondan in Hakkoryu Jujutsu, he has studied Alexander Technique with Jane Clanton Bick, he has studied Asthanga yoga with Pamela Brewer, he studied physical fitness with the United States Marine Corps (and handful of others since), and he is an active swimmer and a barefoot runner.
Ryan’s approach to music education respects the body as the music and the instrument as the tool. Learning to express oneself through music should be a positive, holistic experience. He also strongly believes that each of us (as a group and as an individual) has the right to music, that it belongs to all of us – not just the virtuosi.