Wayne State University

Aim Higher


Daniel Pliskow

Jazz Bass


I was born in Detroit in 1935. In 1943, while in the second grade, I began taking cello in school and private lessons, eventually studying with Jacob Becker of the DSO. In high school I switched to Bass and started playing weddings and jazz gigs. At nineteen I was working six nights a week in jazz clubs around Detroit, and attending Wayne State as a music major, and studying with Gaston Brohan and Walter Hardman of the Detroit Symphony.

For thirty-five years I made my living playing with trios and quartets. Throughout the 1950's and 60's, I worked backing up shows at the Roostertail, The Detroit Playboy Club with pianist, Matt Michaels, and played cocktail hour at The Attache. I also worked for WJBK-TV and WXYZ-TV on daily TV shows.

I had the good fortune and privilege of backing up Wes Montgomery, Wynton Kelly, Milt Jackson, Art Farmer, Roy Eldridge, Junior Mance and hundreds of wonderful players through the years. I’ve been teaching private students since 1960 and have been a Jazz Studies instructor at Wayne State University since 1981. An active performer, I worked two hundred gigs last year.

In 2002, I was asked by the Library Of Congress to donate all the reel-to-reel tapes I had recorded through the years, with me playing on the bandstand. I donated over 2,100 hours of taped music from clubs, sessions, and guest appearances on TV. The first reel-to-reel recording I made was a 1957 jazz gig at Morey’s Bar on Michigan and Livernois with Tom Brown on drums, Guy Korte, piano and John Trudell on trumpet. There was even a master recording session with Jose Feliciano from 1962. My recordings also included Wes Montgomery, Wynton Kelly and Junior Mance as guests on the Scene II TV show.

Today I continue to make my living playing Jazz in Detroit and teach forty students a week privately and at WSU.

Recent Publications

"He's Base, He's Vile, It's Dan Pliskow" A personal history of my Detroit Jazz Playing going back to 1951.

"Jazz Bass Lines"   Examples of Jazz standards written out for bass students.

"23 Bass Lessons At Home With Dan Pliskow"  Contains twenty-three bass lessons as if you were studying with me.