Learned from the best, and teaching the best: Bassist Chris Severin

NEW ORLEANS -- If you've seen live music in our town, chances are you've probably seen and heard Chris Severin.

And if the name's not familiar, the sound of his bass should be.

Severin, a bassist and educator, is one of our premier sidemen.

He got his start in the business as a family affair.

"You got to remember my daddy was a drummer with the Houston's Big Band, old man Houston with Louis Cottrel and Sun Johnson and a bunch of great musicians," Severin said. "I was always in the house with that, and then all of my brothers were drummers."

Severin credits a lot of musicians, including his brother-in-law, but he also owes a lot to a time in our city when music was everywhere.

"They had bands in every block," he said. "You're walking down the street, and these cats are playing and I would look in the door. They'd have these big ol' amplifiers, and I wanted to know if I sounded like that, and the only way I could know is to play on their stuff."

He 's played with the who's who of the music business, but he also finds time to educate promising young musicians as an instructor at New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. He's helped to mold some of the best over the past 18 years.

"It's more than just playing some notes. It's having the heart of the music," he explained. "You never know what you're gonna be doing, so what you need to do is to get as much information as you possibly can. Everybody's got something to offer."