Rob Wasserman

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Rob Wasserman
Born (1952-04-01)April 1, 1952
San Mateo, California, U.S.
Died June 29, 2016(2016-06-29) (aged 64)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Genres Rock, jazz, folk
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Upright bass
Associated acts Bob Weir & RatDog

Rob Wasserman (April 1, 1952 – June 29, 2016)[1] was an American composer and bass player. A Grammy Award and NEA grant winner, he played and recorded with a wide variety of musicians including Bruce Cockburn, Elvis Costello, Ani di Franco, Jerry Garcia, David Grisman, Rickie Lee Jones, Van Morrison, Aaron Neville, Lou Reed, Pete Seeger, Jules Shear, Studs Terkel, Bob Weir, Brian Wilson, Chris Whitley, Neil Young, Jackson Browne, Laurie Anderson, Stephen Perkins, Banyan, Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo, and Ratdog.[2][3][4]

He is best known for his own work on the trilogy of albums, Solo, Duets, and Trios.[5][6][7]

Life and career[edit]

Wasserman started playing violin, and graduated to the bass after his teenage years. He studied at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where he studied composing with John Adams, and double bass with San Francisco Symphony bassists.[5]

Early on, he played with Van Morrison, Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo, and the David Grisman Quintet. His 1983 album, Solo won Downbeat Magazine's Record of the Year award. Two subsequent albums, Duets and Trios, saw Wasserman engage with other musicians, such as Bobby McFerrin, Rickie Lee Jones, Cheryl Bentyne, Lou Reed, Stéphane Grappelli, Jerry Garcia, Brian Wilson, Willie Dixon, Branford Marsalis, and Elvis Costello.

Duets was nominated for three Grammy Awards, and won one for "Brothers" with Bobby McFerrin. Wasserman also won Holland's Edison Award for Record of the Year.

His 2000 album, Space Island, incorporated more contemporary musical elements. RatDog, which he co- founded with Bob Weir from the Grateful Dead, occupied much of his time. He also toured extensively with Lou Reed.

Wasserman was a judge for the sixth-tenth annual Independent Music Awards.[8]

He died June 29, 2016 .


Rob Wasserman's parents are Albert and Dunia, his wife is Veronica, his daughter is Sara, and his siblings are sister Cindy and brother Bruce.



  1. ^ Associated Press (June 30, 2016). "Rob Wasserman, Grammy-Nominated Rock Bassist, Dies at 64". The New York Times. Retrieved July 1, 2016. 
  2. ^ Vaziri, Aidin (June 30, 2016). "Rob Wasserman, Bassist Who Played with Bob Weir, Dies at 64", San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  3. ^ Brandle, Lars (June 30, 2016). "Rob Wasserman, Bassist Who Played with Lou Reed, Elvis Costello and Bob Weir, Dies at 64", Billboard. Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  4. ^ "Rob Wasserman Discography", Grateful Dead Family Discography. Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Yanow, Scott. "Rob Wasserman Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved October 14, 2011. 
  6. ^ Smith, Roger Len (January / February 1994). "Rob Wasserman: Bass-ically Unique", Relix. Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  7. ^ Liebman, Jon (May 28, 2012). "Rob Wasserman: Exclusive Interview", For Bass Players Only. Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  8. ^ "Independent Music Awards – Past Judges". Independent Music Awards. Retrieved November 1, 2015. 
  9. ^ Tarnoff, Andy (June 22, 2015). "Nineteen Thirteen Crosses Time, Space with "Summertime" Cover", OnMilwaukee. Retrieved August 2, 2016.