Fishman Artist // Craig Akin"Craig Akin is one of the most versatile bassists I've worked with. He is equally skilled with acoustic or electric bass and can play any style. Regardless of the setting, Craig always plays with commitment and creativity.” – Kerry Strayer, Artistic Director/Conductor, Kansas City Jazz Orchestra
As the son of piano teacher Susan Akin, Craig learned musical theory, melody, harmony and sight-reading from an early age. He studied piano for two years before switching to the trumpet in sixth grade. His teachers were the symphony musicians and university professors of Tulsa, Oklahoma. During high school he studied guitar and theory from the infamous Dick Gordon Jr.
Craig's love for the upright bass began in 1993, while he was completing a music education degree as a trumpet player at the University of Kansas. By 1997 Craig was already playing bass full time. For the next 10 years he played over 2,700 shows in his musical hometown of Kansas City. While playing with nearly everyone on the jazz and blues scene, he focused extensively on developing his rhythm and tone.
"Coming up as a professional in KC was invaluable and an incredible experience. Such rich musical history still felt to this day. KC jazz and blues maintains its high level of groove with it's many world class musicians. I feel blessed to have received a solid musical foundation to take anywhere.”
It was an explosive time in Craig's musical development. He averaged 270 gigs a year playing bebop, big band, swing, bossa nova, salsa, motown, disco, and modern jazz. This is where he became the youngest and founding member of the Kansas City Bass Quartet (2000-2007) and an instructor at the Music House School of Music (Overland Park, KS). Craig also traveled to Europe for three tours with the Kansas City Jazz 5, and was selected as one of 12 American Jazz musicians to perform at the first annual "Jazz in Riads" Festival in Morocco (in celebration of the newly signed peace treaty between Morocco and the US.). In 2005 Craig found a new challenge in playing with songwriters in the Kansas City pop and folk scene, including the newly formed Barnaby Bright. He got hooked on developing parts for original music in the context of a band and began to deeply appreciate well-written songs and lyrics.
To continue his growth as a musician, Craig moved to New York in 2007. He honed his skills even further with the help of Jay Anderson, Scott Colley, and Larry Grenadier. Craig was thrilled to be able to study with legendary Miles Davis bassist, Ron Carter, for two years.
"Ron demanded high standards and accepted nothing less than perfection. With his experience and amazing ears I felt like I was under a giant microscope. Just being in his presence was inspiring. I walked away every time feeling recharged." -Craig, talking about studying with Ron Carter
Craig currently resides in Brooklyn, NY where he plays countless live shows in varied genres and is an in-demand studio musician developing an extensive discography. "I love the process of hearing a song for the first time, learning it, then creating a bass part for it. The most rewarding part is hearing the song again with the warm bottom layer added." Craig has a home studio, where he overdubs upright and electric bass onto existing projects.