NEW ORLEANS–Allen Toussaint, George Benson, Marcus Roberts, and Dr. John are all world-class musicians that Roland Guerin has had the pleasure of playing with. And while sideman might apply to most people that play bass, Guerin has proven to be much more.
In fact, his musical gifts were apparent early on, even if his playing was a bit unconventional. Guerin said, “I was a cat that was either second chair or third chair because I couldn’t read so I would listen to whatever first chair played for the test and by the time the second chair played it, I had it.”
He grew up in Baton Rouge and eventually became one of it’s brightest stars. We have his high school band director, Lee Fortier to thank for being stern with Guerin and making sure he honed his craft close to home at Southern.
“He dug in every day and cursed me out from top to bottom. He’s like ‘as talented as you are you so and so, not practicing’ So I was set on going to Berkley and he did it again cursed me out and said you need to go study with Alvin Batiste,” said Guerin of Fortier.
He joined a long line of industry pros that studied with Batiste. In fact, in music circles, Guerin is known as much more than just a bassist, but a capable songwriter and bandleader as well. He also served as Dr. John’s last bandleader., “Man it was a joy that’s the first thing that came to mind because he shared. He shared stories and he shared himself.
In September, Roland Guerin’s Grass Roots CD will be available wherever you buy music.