Mike Freeman Blog
February 2020

Dave Gausden

Remembering bass player Dave Gausden: Dave passed away last Thursday evening after many years battling Parkinson's. I met Dave in Omaha just before I went to college in the late 1970s. We connected because he along with harp player Anita Clark had done some Milt Jackson transcriptions. I also remember the three of us getting together to play some tunes.

Dave and I played a bunch of duo gigs back then when I was in town. I remember gigs at Mr Toad's and Kilgore’s among others. Dave also played with my group on a concert I presented at UNO (pictured below). Steven Gottlieb, who was into recording equipment from way back then, came to my basement one afternoon and recorded us. We also did a recording of Dave Stryker’s music in 1983 while everyone was back visiting Omaha.

Dave introduced me to the music of bass-player composers Dave Holland, Eberhard Weber, and Barre Phillips along with Jack DeJohnette's music and Brazilian musicians/composers Egberto Gismonti and Hermeto Pascoal.

Dave worked for the post office at that time. I remember learning how addresses in Omaha worked from him and how to do a mailing list. Before computers he taught me how to make flyers using press-on letters! Dave moved to Portugal in the early 1980s and was responsible for bringing me there for five weeks to tour the country in 1985. The tour was sponsored by the Fulbright Foundation and the American Embassy (USIA). I definitely went where no vibe player had ever been before and received the medal of the city of Guarda in the process (view photos here and another blog post of mine here). While there we would play Jobim’s “Wave." Having played that tune many times at corporate events with little reaction from American audiences (other than, Oh that sounds nice) I was taken aback when I looked out and saw the entire audience swaying back and forth in time to the music as we played. I remember turning to Dave and saying, “We’re definitely not in Omaha any more!" There are other great stories I tell from that tour regarding a pair of shoes, cognac, port wine, and fabulous full-course dinners! Before he moved to Portugal, Dave made a shipping trunk for his bass out of cardboard. Having learned the process from him, I did the same to make cases for my marimba years ago. In one of those strange coincidences, I had unpacked my marimba from out of those same cases on the day he passed away.

Farewell Dave.

Freeman-Gausden