Patrick Prouty is a veteran bassist/composer from Detroit. He began is musical pursuits with piano lessons at age 10 and when he got to high school he started singing an playing guitar in local rock bands. Early on music became his foremost passion! Switching to electric bass in his senior year of high school and without much formal musical training, he decided to pursue a jazz studies degree at Wayne State University in Detroit. After a less than spectacular audition, Professor Matt Michaels agreed to let him enter the jazz program but only after a summer of lessons with Wayne State’s bass instructor Dan Pliskow. Professor Pliskow encouraged Patrick to acquire an upright bass. He found one for sale in the paper, purchased it and three days later did his first gig on it!
In the fertile Detroit jazz and blues scene, Patrick began to make a name for himself as a solid, reliable sideman on both the electric and upright bass and started to make his living as a musician. He began sharing the stage and the recording studio with some of Detroit’s best jazz and blues artists like Marcus Belgrave, and Alberta Adams.
In 1997 he earned the bass chair with legendary blues guitarist Johnnie Bassett. With Johnnie Bassett, Patrick toured the U.S., played his first gigs in Europe and got to work with pianist/organist Bill Heid. Patrick considers Bill Heid and Johnnie Basset to be his musical fathers. He learned from these Detroit veterans not only the language and technique needed to play music at a high level but also what it takes to make a living as musician.
As Patrick’s profile as a bassist grew, he became interested in writing and arranging music. Along with his duties as a bassist, he began to write for many of the groups he was working with. He became the musical director of the Lucky Strike Swing Orchestra in 2001 and continues to write and arrange music for this eight piece group. In 2000, the Patrick Prouty Trio was formed as a vehicle to play Patrick’s own original music. The trio started working whenever Patrick was free from his duties as a sideman in the many groups he was playing with.
A big career break happened while Patrick was working with Sir Mack Rice, the composer of Mustang Sally. Legendary soul singer Bettye Lavette happened to be in the audience and was impressed by Patrick’s bass playing. When the bass chair in her band opened up, she asked Patrick to join her touring band. With Bettye Lavette, Patrick toured relentlessly in the U.S. and made 24 European tours playing some of the most prestigious festivals all over the world including Bonaroo and the North Sea Jazz Festival.
In 2004, while touring with Bettye Lavette, Patrick learned that bassist Robert Hurst was to begin teaching at the University of Michigan. Patrick auditioned for U of M’s masters program in improvisation and was accepted as a student. Under the guidance of Professors Robert Hurst, Geri Allen and Ed Sarath, Patrick started to find his own voice as an artist and decided to focus more on his own music.
In September of 2006, Patrick took his own working group, now a quartet, into Big Sky Studios in Ann Arbor to record nine of his original compositions. This session produced his first cd as a leader, The Charmed Life. Feeling the urge to lead his own group and play his own compositions, he left Bettye Lavette in October of 2007 to pursue his own career as a band leader. The Charmed Life was released in October of 2007 to rave reviews and won a Detroit Music Award for Best Jazz Recording in 2008.
New American Daydream, Patrick’s fourth CD as a leader was released in November 2012 earned the Detroit Music Award for Best Jazz Recording.