Desert Island Jazz
Kai Eckhardt (2014)

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German-born Kai Eckhardt began playing bass guitar at age 15, but it wasn't his only interest as a teenager: he excelled in track, gymnastics and diving.

In 1985, his countryman, guitar prodigy Torsten der Winkel, invited Kai to join his recording ensemble, which included Alphonse Mouzon and Michael Brecker. A little later, he toured with Ernie Watts, and also Steve Smith, the latter leading to an invitation to join Steve's group Vital Information.

Kai accepted an invitation to come to the Berkeley College of Music, and graduating with honors in 1987, he began to establish himself in the United States. In 1988 he joined the group of guitarist John McLaughlin with Trilok Gurtu, and began touring extensively. In the early 1990s, he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, and turned his attention to composing, and to teaching—privately, online, in clinics, and as a member of the Jazzschool in Berkeley.

Besides music, he has developed a strong interest in social justice and environmental issues, and has put together rallies for green-collar jobs.

Kai lives in the perfect place for him, Berkeley, where he is married to his Brazilian wife. They have two teenagers who are growing up trilingual in English, German and Portuguese. They probably speak music, too.
Pick Artist Album Song Label
# 1 Joni Mitchell Shadows and Light In France They Kiss on Main Street Elektra
# 2 Stevie Wonder Journey through the Secret Life of Plants The Secret Life of Plants Tamla
# 3 America America's Greatest Hits Horse with No Name Warner Bros.
# 4 Jan Hammer Oh Yeah? Magical Dog Sony
# 5 Bulgarian State Radio and TV Female Vocal Choir Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares Kalimankou Denkou Nonesuch Records
# 6 Donnie The Daily News Impatient People Soul Thought Entertainment
# 7 Dou Dou N'Diaye Rose Djabote Cheikh Anta Diop Real World
# 8 Rob Dixon What Things Could Be Looking Up Owl Studios
# 9 Kai Eckhardt Zeitgeist Giant Slaps Area 61
Book Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, "I Am That"
Luxury Item "The bass guitar that I brought from Germany: it's an acoustic six-string fretless bass guitar, made by Siggi Jäger, so it's a prototype. The company is Human Base."
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