First started playing professionally in 1968 as guitarist with a band called The Krisis, playing the UK club and ballroom circuit, after which he switched to bass guitar and formed The Daisy Showband with guitarist Ian Gomm before joining Velvet Opera in 1970 with whom he made his first recordings for Spark Records.
In 1971 he joined an incarnation of the 60’s chart-topping group The Foundations and spent a year playing the cabaret clubs mostly in northern England.
In 1971 former band-mate Ian Gomm, who had since become a member of Brinsley Schwarz, introduced Colin to Ernie Graham, formerly of Eire Apparent and, together with guitarist Jonathan Glemser, they formed the band Clancy. The band became part of London’s growing Pub-Rock scene and briefly signed with Island Records but were dropped after differences with producer Muff Winwood.
Shortly afterwards the band signed with Warner Brothers and recorded two albums: “Seriously Speaking” (1974) and “Every Day” (1975). The line-up on both was: Bass (bass, vocals), Ernie Graham (guitar, vocals), Gasper Lawal (percussion) Dave Vasco (guitar), Dave Skinner (keyboards, vocals) and Barry Ford (drums, vocals).
Clancy split in 1976 and Colin joined Steve Hillage, who was putting together a band to promote the album “L” on a six-month tour of Europe and the USA. The line-up included ex-Jethro Tull drummer Clive Bunker.
In 1977 Colin was invited by American saxophonist and composer Jim Cuomo, who had occasionally played with Clancy, to participate in his musical “Woe Babylon” at the Edinburgh Festival. The band from the show included pianist Ollie Marland and drummer Miguel Olivares and this quartet became a project known as the Casual Band. Olivares was later replaced by ex-Back Door drummer Tony Hicks. Recordings were made with producer Tom Newman but were never released.
In 1979, Steve Hillage tour manager Laurie Small introduced Colin to British progressive-rock band Camel. The line-up at the time was Andrew Latimer (guitar, vocals), Andy Ward (drums) and Kit Watkins and Jan Schelhaas (keyboards). There followed two albums “I Can See Your House From Here” (1979) and “Nude” (1980) and respective international tours.
In 1981 at the end of the “Nude” tour, Andy Ward’s health problems led to Andrew Latimer’s dissolving of the band. Colin relocated to Paris where he recorded an album and performed live with old colleague Jim Cuomo.
Returning to the UK in 1983 he took up a teaching post, played sessions and club and pub gigs with various line-ups until Andrew Latimer invited him to rejoin Camel for the 1984 “Stationary Traveller” tour. In the same year he started to play with the Anglo-Ghanaian band Orchestra Jazira, which led to his induction in the pioneer world-music group 3 Mustaphas 3, who renamed him as Sabah Habas Mustapha.
Between 1985 and 1991 the 3 Mustaphas 3 recorded four full albums and sundry singles and EPs and established a cult following for their live performances, touring in the USA, Europe, Japan and also in the then Soviet-bloc countries of East Germany, Hungary and Bulgaria.
When the 3 Mustaphas 3 stopped activities in 1991 Colin went to Indonesia where, over the next ten years he recorded three solo albums with Indonesian musicians under the name of Sabah Habas Mustapha. The first, “Denpasar Moon” (1994), was recorded in Jakarta and explored the sounds of the popular music style Dangdut.
The title song became a major hit in Indonesia in the form of a cover-version by a singer from the Philippines called Maribeth and was subsequently recorded by over 40 different Indonesian artists.
In 1997 Colin founded the Kartini Music record label whose first release was another Sabah Habas Mustapha record, “Jalan Kopo”, recorded in Bandung and this time influenced by the sounds of the west Javanese province of Sunda.
At the same time, the 90’s saw a rejuvenated Camel back on the scene after a long period of inactivity due to a protracted legal dispute with previous management. In 1991 Andrew Latimer, now relocated to California, invited Colin to participate in the recording of “Dust and Dreams”, the fist release by his own label Camel Productions, which was followed by a world tour in 1992 with the line-up of Latimer, Bass and Mickey Simmonds (keyboards) and Paul Burgess (drums).
Between then and 2003 Camel released another three studio albums and undertook subsequent tours all documented with live albums except, as yet, the 2003 “farewell” tour.
In 1998 Kartini Music released Colin’s first album under the name Colin Bass: “An Outcast of the Islands”. Recorded in Poland and California and featuring Andrew Latimer on guitar, the then Camel drummer Dave Stewart and a number of Polish musicians, the album gathered critical praise and helped establish his reputation in Poland. Subsequent tours produced two live albums: “Live at Polskie Radio 3” (1999) and “Live Vol.2: Acoustic Songs” (2000).
2000 also saw the release of another Sabah Habas Mustapha album recorded in Bandung, Indonesia : “So La Li”. It further explored the sounds of the Sundanese region and featured again the multi-instrumentalist Ismet Ruchimat and several musicians from his group Sambasunda. “So La Li” won wide critical acclaim and was nominated for a BBC Radio 3 World Music Award.
In 2003 Kartini Music released the second Colin Bass studio album, “in the meantime”. Alongside these activities, Colin has over the years added his bass-playing skills to a number of albums by internationally acclaimed artists such as top Malian singing star Oumou Sangare, the veteran Algerian maestro of the oriental piano Maurice el Medioni and Zimbabwe’s First Lady of the Mbira Stella Chiweshe.
As a record producer he has made album productions with a number of artists including New York Klezmer band The Klezmatics, Egyptian wedding king Ali Hassan Kuban, the Javanese urban gamelan orchestra Sambasunda, Madagascan pop group Tarika and the German singer-songwriter Jenny Weisgerber.
A resident of Berlin, Germany since 1988 he has since 1994 been writing and presenting a weekly radio show for RBB Radio Multikulti and WDR Funkhaus Europa in Germany: “Sabah am Sonntag”, presenting musical rarities and curiosities from around the world. He is also a recognized expert on Indonesian Pop music, giving talks and contributing articles on the subject to “The Rough Guide to World Music” (Penguin Books), “Auge & Ohr : Ear & Eye” (neue zeitschrift für musik), “Anders Reisen: Indonesien” (Rowohlt) and the magazines Froots and Songlines. According to his official website he is currently working on a third solo album as well as producing a second album for Jenny Weisgerber and touring with American guitarist Prince Robinson.
official site ColinBass.com.
Edited by northern_lumi on 21 Feb 2008, 09:21
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