Rob Wasserman

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Rob Wasserman
Born(1952-04-01)April 1, 1952
San Mateo, California, U.S.
DiedJune 29, 2016(2016-06-29) (aged 64)
Los Angeles
GenresRock, jazz, folk
Instrument(s)Double bass

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 Bob Weir, Bruce Cockburn, Elvis Costello, Ani di Franco, Jerry Garcia, David Grisman, Stéphane Grappelli, Rickie Lee Jones, Van Morrison, Aaron Neville, Lou Reed, Pete Seeger, Jules Shear, 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]

He worked with Van Morrison, Oingo Boingo, and David Grisman. His 1983 album Solo won Down Beat magazine's Record of the Year award. On the albums Duets and Trios, he worked with Bobby McFerrin, Rickie Lee Jones, Cheryl Bentyne, Lou Reed, Stéphane Grappelli, Jerry Garcia, Brian Wilson, Willie Dixon, Branford Marsalis, Bob Weir, Edie Brickell, Les Claypool, Neil Young, and Elvis Costello.

Duets was nominated for three Grammy Awards. Bobby McFerrin won for "Brothers", which was performed with Wasserman. 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 toured extensively with Lou Reed.

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

Rob Wasserman died on June 29, 2016. Cause of death was cancer.[9] Entombment was made in Salem Memorial Park and Garden at Colma, California.[10]


As leader[edit]

As co-leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With David Grisman

With Lou Reed

With Rickie Lee Jones

With others


  1. ^ "Rob Wasserman, Grammy-Nominated Rock Bassist, Dies at 64". The New York Times. Associated Press. June 30, 2016. 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. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  9. ^ "Rob Wasserman, accomplished bass player, dead at 64". AP NEWS. June 30, 2016. Retrieved February 6, 2023.
  10. ^ "Online Burial Search". Jewish Cemeteries of Colma. Retrieved June 7, 2023.
  11. ^ Tarnoff, Andy (June 22, 2015). "Nineteen Thirteen Crosses Time, Space with "Summertime" Cover", OnMilwaukee. Retrieved August 2, 2016.