"The music of New Orleans based guitarist and composer Scott Stobbe encompasses sounds from around the globe, all the while maintaining a signature quality that is unmistakably his own. With roots in Brazilian music, Balkan music, swing and free improvisation, Scott’s approach to composition is grounded yet unlimited by genre boundaries. As a multi-instrumentalist himself, Scott uses his knowledge of instrumental range to write cohesive parts that honor the innate qualities of each instrument involved. The recordings of these songs feature world-class musicians who are all a part of a larger world-music community based out of the Bay Area."
— Fine Artist & Composer Justine Lucas
Photo by Capri Glidden
New Orleans based guitarist and composer has toured all over the world. His passion for exploration has led him creatively through the depths of his mind and physically across the continental United States, Canada, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Columbia, Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, The Netherlands, England, Italy, The Czech Republic, Hungary, Serbia, Slovenia, Poland, Norway, Sweden, Estonia, Morocco, Singapore, Indonesia and Hong Kong. The impressions gathered from his travels have helped to shape him as a person, and has influenced and expanded his musical style and values.
Born in Capitola California, he began experimenting with playing various instruments, starting with trombone in 3rd grade. But he did not make the deep connection with music until his brother got a bass guitar about 4 years later and he started to playing it. Initially he wanted to play drums and when he saw a drum set at a flea market he asked his parents if he could get it. When they answered ‘no’ he bought a guitar instead that same day. As Scott says: “The rest is history!”
Scott Stobbe has an A.A. degree in music composition from Foothill College in Los Altos California, a B.M. in music composition from Portland State University and a Master’s in Music from Stephen F. Austin University. He also studied Jazz performance at the Escuela Municipal de Música de A Coruña in La Coruña, Spain between 1999-2001 and attended classes and workshops with Pauline Oliveros, Lou Harrison, Michael Byron and Marin Alsop. He spent 3 years teaching guitar and music theory to inmates at Salinas Valley State Prison from 2014-2017 with the William James Association’s Prison Arts Project. He also spent 20 years working at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz, California where he was greatly impacted by the phenomenal musicians that played there night after night.
Guitar became his instrument of preference, Scott has played with Flamenco and Classical guitarists in Spain, Estonian Fiddlers, Gamelan players in Java and Bali, Indian Musicians in Singapore, Bagpipers in Galicia (Spain), Punk and Hardcore bands in California, Latin American music ensembles, classical guitar orchestras, bluegrass bands, Klezmer and Balkan bands, and Blues and Jazz bands in New Orleans, amongst others. All of these experiences have influenced his playing and composing style significantly. Contrast plays a big part in his music, believing that consonance and dissonance have a symbiotic relationship as do loud and soft, short and long notes and repetition and change.
Scott has a firm belief that music is a powerful force that can uplift, heal, educate, and bring people together. He expresses this sentiment in his own words: “The first time I made music with another person was like an out of body experience, really...it was so amazing that I have dedicated myself to playing and writing and sharing music. It fulfills me on so many levels; creatively, intellectually, physically, spiritually and socially.”
As artist and composer Justine Lucas says, “Scott Stobbe encompasses sounds from around the globe, all the while maintaining a signature quality that is unmistakably his own.” Scott’s music has been performed nationally and internationally by The New Music Works Ensemble in Santa Cruz CA, The Cabrillo College Guitar Orchestra, Thollem McDonas, The Blue Cranes, The Quadraphonnes, Triems and the New Music Society of Portland. His music has been featured at The Portland Jazz Festival, the Olympia Festival of Experimental Music and the Woven Festival in Tokyo, Japan. His compositions have been recorded by The Videri String Quartet, The Blue Cranes, Triems, The Quadraphonnes, The Scott Stobbe Collection and Thollem Mcdonas, and his songs have been featured in the full-length films The Cedars and Beat the Shift.
Composers and musicians that have influenced Scotts’ music are many but those who he feels need to be mentioned are: Guillame de Machaut, Morton Feldman, Charles Ives, Lou Harrison, Harry Partch, Sonny Sharrok, Albert Ayler, John Fahey, Derek Bailey, traditional music from the Black Sea and Mediterranean regions as well as all artists appearing on Harry Smiths’ Anthology of American Folk Music and all of the many musicians he has collaborated with.
His near future goals include the release of an art book and album project, Sketches and Scores, in which he collaborated with his father, figurative painter Jeff Stobbe. He is looking forward to playing concerts with The Scott Stobbe Collection when that is possible again, and to expand this project with other collaborators. He will be releasing two albums of solo piano music played by the outstanding keyboard player Thollem McDonas later this year. As for the far future, Scott Stobbe says, “it’s music, music, and music!”