AVANT-BASS is a small independent music & media production company founded in 2000 that helps create and distribute artistically interesting and state-of-the-art pedagogical projects. Artists with whom we collaborate include jazz vocalist Jackie Allen, pianist/composer Tom Larson, soprano Mimmi Fulmer, koto player Elizabeth Falconer, synthesists/composers Joan Wildman & Cleve Scott, and bassists/composers François Rabbath & Hans Sturm.



75 Years GOOD
75 YEARS ON 4 STRINGS: The Life and Music of François Rabbath
Now available : paperback, hardcover, and e-book.
What do tightrope walker Phillipe Petit, movie director Nicholas Roeg, music producer Quincy Jones, artist Pablo Picasso, cabaret singer Edith Piaf, and the Paris Opera have in common?
Written over a five-year period, 75 Years on 4 Strings, portrays the life of François Rabbath, from his earliest memories as a child in Aleppo in the 1930s to his 90th birthday virtual recital in Paris in 2021. The much beloved artist-teacher sat for countless hours of interviews and shared candid stories from throughout his illustrious career. Artists and musicians from across the world spoke of their encounters and collaborations with François – Paco Ibañez, Philippe Petit, Frank Proto, Paul Ellison, Minas Lourian, GP Cremonini, Barry Green, Thierry Barbé, Johnny Sølvberg, and many, many more.
"I cannot recommend highly enough this lovingly written story of the most exciting and revolutionary bass player of our times." The Strad
"You just have to read Hans Sturm's amazing book, with so many jaw-dropping stories of wit, chutzpah, creativity, and genius, as François toured the world with his music and human spirit." Bass World Magazine
Finalist, Association for Recorded Sound Collection for Excellence in Historical Sound Research


The Nebraska Project digial cover sm
(Limited CD release and digital download)

While living in Indiana, Bass Meets Voice developed a diverse program of music by famous artists (Cole Porter, Crystal Gayle, Michael Jackson) who had a connection to the state. The project proved to be very popular and as they toured to dozens of schools through the acclaimed national program, Young Audiences, eventually performing as headliners at their national conference. Upon moving to Nebraska in 2011, the duo began to consider alternatives and set out to research Nebraska artists. With the exception of Fred Astaire, most were not household names, however their stories were rich and fascinating. Rather than performing tunes associated with these artists, the duo came up with the idea of honoring each with a musical portrait. Artists also include Joe Feeny, Jeri Southern, Thurl Ravenscroft, Neil Hefti, Ann Ronell, Julie Wilson, and Ruth Etting.

The Nebraska Project also includes a short suite dedicated to three of the American Indian Tribes who lived in the Nebraska area including the Omaha, Pawnee, and Ponca.

Voyage GOOD
(Limited CD release)

Having worked with master artist-teacher François Rabbath for over 20 years, Hans Sturm recorded a set of his unaccompanied works at Museum Studios in Paris, engineered by François' son, Sylvain, and performed on one of his basses. The CD includes performances of a few works he has not recorded - the full list is: Chasse
à courre, Thanatos, Voyage, Ordis, Timbre phrase, L'Infinie Martine, Sylvain, Plus que perpétual, and Prades.

Rococo BluRay GOOD

Allen is now releasing her newest project, A ROMANTIC EVENING WITH JACKIE ALLEN: LIVE AT THE ROCOCO, a two-disc Blu-ray and CD set.
With her smoky and suggestive voice, distinctive phrasing, and improvisatory chops, Allen is a true jazz singer. A natural storyteller, she can interpret jazz ballads with great sensitivity and fluently transform pop tunes into the jazz idiom. As with Allen’s other recordings, A ROMANTIC EVENING WITH JACKIE ALLEN presents a mix of musical styles, from classic jazz tunes to up-tempo swing numbers, soulful R&B, lush ballads, and jaunty sambas.

Allen is also an outstanding arranger. She adapted most of the tunes on this album with her own inimitable style and emotive approach to lyric interpretation. She and her husband, the top-notch bass player HANS STURM, have been making music together since the early 1980s. The two have teamed up once again to create this unique, two-disc collection, with Sturm producing the video portion of the project.

Allen brought her longtime recording band from Chicago to Lincoln for this performance, as well as special guest Bob Sheppard, the Los Angeles-based sax maestro. With its stellar musicianship and Allen’s sexy and emotive vocals, A ROMANTIC EVENING WITH JACKIE ALLEN has the kind of intimate feel that pairs beautifully with a candlelight dinner and a bottle of good champagne.

“A Romantic Evening with Jackie Allen—Live at the Rococo is an album that has all the intimacy, groove, and taste that not only lives up to its billing, but also generates that undefinable "You Are There" (or should have been) appeal. Allen and crew brilliantly perform 10 selections… She's is a confident singer, a risk-taking lyric interpreter who shades and caresses lines—ones which we have heard innumerable times— with intricacy, sincerity and "sleight of heart." This is a superb, highly-engaged team of Kings framing an Ace.” (Nicholas Mondello, All About Jazz)

“Allen’s vocal sound is smokily seductive, her interpretation of the lyrics thorough, and her phrasing exceptional…Excellent in all respects, this album should appeal to all who love jazz singing at its best.” (Bruce Crowther, Jazz Journal U.K.)



Over a career spanning more than 30 years, vocalist and songwriter JACKIE ALLEN has produced 11 CDs that have garnered accolades from fans and critics alike. Now with ROSE FINGERED DAWN, her 12th release, the Chicago-based veteran ventures into new territory with an album featuring 10 original tunes all written specifically for her by the formidable bass player HANS STURM. Allen and Sturm are not only musical partners, they’re a husband and wife team who met in college and have been working both together and apart since the early 1980s when they began performing as a voice/bass duo act.

Allen has a smoky, expressive voice that’s instantly recognizable. She’s very musical and innovative, yet she eschews vocal pyrotechnics to express the story of a song with a directness that seems to emanate directly from her core. Allen’s repertoire has never been focused on a single genre of music. Throughout her career, she’s incorporated a range of styles, including folk and pop, that she transforms into the jazz idiom through her own unique approach.

ROSE FINGERED DAWN is a stylistically eclectic outing that draws on Allen’s skills as a natural storyteller. According the Allen, “Obviously, Hans knows me very well. I’m lucky to have a collaborator who can compose in so many different styles, as well as create such poetic, sensitive imagery. His music can be so light and beautiful and romantic.” To which Sturm adds, “Jackie is my muse, and all these songs are ultimately her interpretations of my music. If she doesn’t connect with a particular lyric, I go back and rework it until she’s satisfied. I try to write to Jackie’s strengths, like her ability to convey lyrics naturally and honestly.”

ROSE FINGERED DAWN takes you on a journey across different geographical and emotional landscapes. Indeed, the eponymous title track is a nod to Homer’s Odyssey in which Odysseus invokes Eos, the goddess of dawn, as he sets out on his wanderings. The tune opens with a Ghanaian Islamic chant of welcome by drummer DANE RICHESON, who brings to the group his vast knowledge of musical cultures from around the world.

“NOLA Love Song” is a tune inspired by Allen’s and Sturm’s love of New Orleans, which they visited almost accidentally when they tried to escape a brutal Chicago winter. Their flight to the Caribbean was cancelled, so they hopped on the next available flight out, which happened to be going to The Big Easy. Hans had written the melody shortly after the trip, but he was inspired to write the lyrics after Hurricane Katrina.

Sturm, a poet at heart, loves wordplay and wrote “Time” using a series of clichés that all add up to the message that time flies and should be used wisely. The song has a moody jazz-rock feel that features a smoldering solo by the versatile guitarist JOHN MOULDER. “Dark Butterflies” is slow bossa that’s one of the earliest tunes that Sturm wrote for Jackie. It’s an abstract love song with lovely lyrics like “Lilies, from stem to blossom / Sliding out of the green silence / Suddenly biding their own time / Through sweet chocolate / Earth and are gone / With riots of color left behind.”

“Bel Air BBQ” is a funky homage to the great food and ambience of Kansas City, where they often travel to play music and enjoy the local cuisine. Chicago phenom VICTOR GARCIA tears it up on the tune with a burning trumpet solo. “The Laugh That Is You” is about their son’s infectious laugh. The tune is a swinger that sounds like a big band number from the Great American Songbook. On “The Moon’s on the Rise,” Allen’s sultry vocals raise the temperature of Sturm’s suggestive lyrics.

“Holy Man” switches gears with a get down blues about the hypocrisy of TV evangelists. “Sweet Dreams” is a tune that invites us “to find respite from the stress of modern life and the obstacles we each face.” Allen’s whispery vocals take on the dreamy quality one feels while slowly sliding into sleep. The CD fittingly closes with “Steal the Night,” a song inspired by Dylan Thomas’ poem “Do Not Go Gentle” about the ultimate end of all our journeys.

Allen and Sturm are joined on ROSE FINGERED DAWN by old friends and musical compatriots who have recorded and performed with the duo for many years. Besides the aforementioned guitarist John Moulder, trumpeter Victor Garcia, and drummer Dane Richeson, they’re accompanied by TOM LARSON on keyboards, reedman GEOFF BRADFIELD, and ANDY BAKER on trombone. Each of these stellar musicians has extensive performing and recording careers.

About Jackie Allen
Jackie Allen began her recording career in 1994. She’s recorded on several labels, including Lake Shore Jazz, Naxos Jazz, A440, Red Mark, Blue Note Records and others. Allen had a long musical relationship with pianist/vocalist Judy Roberts. They recorded two CDs together, Santa Baby and Autumn Leaves. Allen and her own combo recorded 3 critically acclaimed CDs for A440 and Blue Note, The Men In My Life (2003), Love Is Blue (2004) and Tangled (2006). She has served multiple terms on the Board of Governors and Jazz Nominating Committee for the Recording Academy (Grammy Awards).

Allen has toured nationally coast-to-coast in major music venues, and was the featured artist with the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic in Chicago’s Millennium Park and Auditorium Theater for Ella Fitzgerald’s 95th Birthday Celebration. She has performed at jazz festivals in Detroit, Chicago, Paris, The Hague, Stuttgart, Edinburgh, Bologna, Beijing, Hong Kong, Thessaloniki, Sao Paulo, among many others. Allen is also a respected jazz educator and teaches at Doane University, NE. She has also taught at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, Ball State University (IN), Roosevelt University, Elmhurst College (IL), and The Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago.

ROSE FINGERED DAWN is now available.