by Bonnie Schendell

“Everyday I feel sheer gratitude that I am allowed to make a living doing what I love.  It may not ever make me rich, but I couldn’t be happier.”

Bassist Stan Sargeant is a humble guy, one who feels that he does his absolute best and reaps the rewards.  Those rewards may not be hugely financial, but they are rich in the happiness they have provided him. 

Starting out in Annapolis, Maryland, moving to New York, and then back to the Washington, DC area, Stan put himself through Howard University by playing local clubs around the DC area.  He earned a degree in molecular biology, but it was music that he truly wanted to pursue.  “I started playing bass when I was about 15 years old and was pretty much self-taught.  Before that I played drums in a garage band.  I had a friend who kept putting his bass down to play on my drums, so I tried out his bass.”  But, Stan’s mother wasn’t so keen on a music career for her son.  “My mom tried her hand in singing and playing the piano, but, well…the music business is tough.  She wanted to be sure I had a career I could support myself on.” 

In 1991, Stan relocated to Los Angeles and met up with Johnny “Guitar” Watson, and the music career began from that point.  “Meeting the right people is key.  It’s all about who you know and getting your hopefully good reputation out there.”  Stan started playing the clubs in and around L.A. and started to make a name for himself.   After playing on the Arsenio Hall show with Jody Watley in 1994, he began a two year touring engagement, and watched his career soar.  Stan has played with the who’s who in smooth jazz:  Peter White, Jonathan Butler, Rick Braun, Richard Elliot, Keiko Matsui, Bobby Caldwell, Patti Austin, The Jazz Crusaders, and Paul Jackson, Jr.  Then the pop world called and Stan found himself touring with Barry Manilow.  “Barry is such a professional, but what I loved so much about touring with him was that he let me kind of feel the music and add my talent to it.  I didn’t always have to play note for note what was on the sheets.”  Stan did a year long sting as the bassist of the house band on the Howie Mandel Show, and then also on The Tonight Show.  Currently, Stan can be found on stage backing Al Jarreau.

When asked about his lengthy career, Stan recalls one show that has stood the test of time and brings back great memories.  “I was with Jonathan Butler in Johannesburg, South Africa.  Jonathan is such an amazingly spiritual man.  There were throngs of people there and to hear tens of thousands singing along to “No Woman, No Cry’s” line that everything’s gonna be alright just touched me.” 

Although he is quite proud of his role as a side musician, Stan says, every musician dreams of being a headliner, and putting his or her own work out there, and he is no exception.  Stan is currently working on his solo project and has four cuts done so far.  And when not working on his own music or writing with others, Stan likes to keep himself active with swimming, snorkeling, tennis and martial arts.

So keep your eye out for this bassist playing alongside many of your favorite smooth jazz, or maybe even a pop artist.  And if you are an up and coming musician, Stan offers up this piece of advice for you:  Be smart, be sweet, and be on time.

For more information on Stan Sargeant, visit