Franc O'Shea

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Widely known and respected in the world jazz community, bassist Franc O'Shea used his unique upbringing to enhance the scope of his performances. Drawing from the tribal sounds of his native Africa (he…
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Widely known and respected in the world jazz community, bassist Franc O'Shea used his unique upbringing to enhance the scope of his performances. Drawing from the tribal sounds of his native Africa (he was born in Swaziland) and the British jazz he was exposed to after moving to Europe, O'Shea's hybrid of genres made him a seasoned player. O'Shea made the move to Brighton, England, as a young boy, and picked up the bass at the age of 12. Quickly taking to the instrument, he absorbed most forms of contemporary music as he heard them, keeping an open mind after the drastic difference in musical styles he experienced after moving from Africa. By the time he was out of school, he founded the Brazilian dance group Batu with several friends. The group had a successful run in both Europe and Brazil, and gave O'Shea the exposure he needed to get freelance gigs. Work with Steve Howe (Yes) and soul singer Lisa Moorish followed, and the chance to form another band presented itself in the form of Urubu. Recorded in New York City with the Groove Collective horn section, the group was a Latin funk collective that offered a different take on dance music than Batu. In fact, Batu had broken up by the mid-'90s, offering O'Shea even more time for his own projects. Finally stepping out on his own in 1999, Alltone Records offered him the chance to record his first solo album. Featuring several high profile session musicians, Espirit was a cohesive display of variety that made him a fixture in the small virtuoso-bass community.