Christian “Big New York” de Mesones has been playing bass guitar for over 40 years. He was only 18 years old when he graduated from the world famous Bass Institute of Technology (now the Musician’s Institute) in Hollywood, California where he had the opportunity to study and workshop with greats such as Abe Laboriel, Louis Johnson, Tim Bogart, Howard Alden, Steve Morse, Pat Metheny, and the late Tommy Tedesco and Ray Brown. By personal request from visiting guitar faculty member and legendary jazz guitarist Pat Martino, he performed an original composition for his graduation ceremony.
Christian has been part of several musical groups all over the country, including bands out of Hawaii, Hollywood, New York City, and Richmond, Virginia, and has performed a wide variety of musical styles. His first major professional achievement as a musician was playing the military club circuit in a hard rock cover band on the island of Oahu in 1981. During the mid-eighties in Brooklyn, de Mesones’ heavy metal band Twice Shy was a staple of the local New York Metal scene and shared the stage at the legendary L’Amour Rock Club with acts such as Manowar, Twisted Sister, Overkill, White Lion and Trixter. He was also a hired bassist for several other New York Clubs.
Moving to Richmond, Virginia in 1995, Christian was introduced to the urban music scene. He laid tracks for local hip-hop artists, and played with various groups, performing R&B, Caribbean, Latin, and Smooth Jazz. As bassist for Big Patt & Legion, he opened for several national recording artists such as Down to the Bone, Marion Meadows, Bob Baldwin, Chuck Brown, and Roberta Flack. The show with Roberta Flack on Brown's Island in Richmond was before an audience of over 33,000, making it the largest recorded attendance for an outdoor Richmond music event in history to that date.
de Mesones relocated to Northern Virginia in 2000. He was the Bass Director for Mars Music in Springfield, just outside of Washington, DC. Additionally, he became a contracted bass player for area churches, having the opportunity to play with gospel recording artist Luther Barnes for a Men’s Workshop at First Mount Zion church in Dumfries. Christian can also be heard on the “Lifesongs” album by gospel artist Charles McPhatter. A resident of Lake Ridge, Virginia since 2003, de Mesones currently teaches bass guitar at A2G Music.
In 2006, de Mesones’ smooth jazz band Groove Skool was invited to play the Capital Jazz, one of the largest jazz festivals in the country. The band released “Limited Edition”, which has received international radio play, and has yielded a top 10 most requested song, “Latin Jive”, on the radio.radio.es network in Mallorca, Spain. Groove Skool sold out its debut at the legendary Blues Alley Supper Club in Washington, DC, and regularly garnered standing room only crowds at K2 Restaurant and Lounge in Woodbridge. When the band played the 2nd Street Festival in Richmond, VA, they graced the cover of the Sunday Richmond Times-Dispatch. They also played the Lake Arbor Jazz Festival in Maryland, both with crowds of over 6,000. Their first New York City appearance was streamed live from S.O.B.’s (Sounds of Brazil), where they shared the stage with national recording artist Drew Davidson.
In 2008, Christian created “Bass Symphony: Celebrating the Gift of Music through the Spirit of Youth”. This non-profit event showcased middle and high school students performing all original compositions arranged for 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 12-string electric and upright basses. The concert was featured in the Old Bridge Observer newspaper.
Christian's next collaborative project, Big New York & the Smooth Jazz All-Starz, wowed audiences with his very specific personal vision. Said de Mesones, when asked about that vision, "Everyone gets a spotlight in this band. I like to create excitement sonically, and that means mixing it up, so the listening audience can get its money's worth." Big New York Shows featured a solid group of regulars and rotated a stellar line-up of some of the best talent in Smooth Jazz. Regulars included Elliot Levine, Mike Gamble, Curtis McCain, Carl Anderson, Rob Maletick, Nia Simmons, and Eddie Baccus, Jr., while featured guests included national recording artists Lindsay Webster, Willie Bradley, Drew Davidsen, and Rob Zinn, just to name a few. The group ended 2015, 2016, and 2017 with its annual Christmas show, “Smooth & Funky Christmas”, at Bethesda Blues and Jazz and Maryland Live! Casino.
Coming full circle, Christian has returned to his roots, focusing on the deeply personal Latin, funk, and rock influences that shaped his love for musical composition. He spent 2018 performing locally and composing and recording additional material to round out his long-awaited, debut solo release, “They Call Me Big New York”. Christian has been independently releasing singles since 2015, beginning with “Good Old Days”. “Latin Jive Redux”, a 2017 remix of the Groove Skool song “Latin Jive”, went to #55 on Billboard and #1 in the UK. It remained in the top 10 for over a year on both the Moth FM/UK and 96.8 the Oasis in the USA. His 2018 release “Spirit” climbed up to #12 with a bullet on the Smooth Jazz Media Base chart and fueled his desire to present this and other material as an album. Christian’s musical evolution was on full display as he made his solo debut to a sold-out crowd at Blues Alley in July 2019, celebrating the upcoming release of "They Call Me Big New York". “Throb!”, a local fan favorite from the album, was also released as a single in 2019, and 2020 began with the release of “Big Tall Wish”, which quickly climbed the charts and paved the way for the release of the full album, available now.
Christian is busy promoting the album and writing new material but has not lost his passion for teaching and fellowship. He recently launched his podcast, We Sing the BASS Electric, where he engages in discussions about performances, recording sessions, and playing techniques with legendary bassists of all genres. He also recently added clinician to his lengthy resume, delivering a bass clinic for the Virginia Bass Forum focused on groove techniques. His plans to expand on this avenue include a video series in which he shares his history, experiences and lessons learned with fans and aspiring musicians. His tips on groove techniques, live performances and show dynamics, set list development, songwriting, and releasing music as an independent artist will be available for subscription and download beginning in 2021. Keep listening for Christian on 96.9 The Oasis!