Louie Spears

March 9, 1935 --

Bassist Louie Spears, a native of Oklahoma City, was born into a family of music aficionados. Louie became interested in the bass after joining the Army. He since has become known worldwide for his accomplishments as an acoustic bassist, cellist, and bass guitarist. From 1962-63, he studied with the Dallas Philharmonic Orchestra’s principal bassist, Robert Zimmerman and co-principal bassist, Clifford Spores. During that period, he played in bands with James Clay, Ted Dunbar, Red Garland and Billy Harper.

In 1970, he relocated to Los Angeles to broaden his career, and studied Latin bass rhythms with legendary bassist Al McKibbon. In 1972, he set out to accomplish a childhood dream of learning to play jazz on the cello, studying with solo cellist Gregory Bemko, studio cellist Victor Sazar and Los Angeles Philharmonic cellist Stephen Foster.

With a progressive career in jazz and pop, he formed his own group, Spearmint. The group consisted of Dorothy Ashby on harp, Brenton Banks on violin, Terry Evans on guitar, Essiest Essiest on bass, George Goldsmith on drums, and Spears on cello. They performed throughout Los Angeles in concert.

Spears has made tremendous contributions of services to the Los Angeles area to senior citizens, youth, high school and college educational programs. He has received numerous awards and recognitions for his services including Certificates of Appreciation from California Legislature Senator Bill Green; University of California Continuing Education; Los Angeles Unified School District Volunteer Program and The Charles Duolo Coker Scholarship Foundation. Awards include the 1974 Mayor’s Adult Committee with Youth Performing Arts Award of Excellence; 1986 Black Caucus of Jazz Educators; 1989 Watts Labor Community Action Committee’s Outstanding Voluntary Service Award and the 1997 Sisters of Jazz Larry Gales’ Music Achievement Award.

Spears has performed and recorded with an array of artists in motion pictures, stage, audio and video recordings, live orchestras, jazz and pop groups and vocalists. He and his brother, Maurice, along with trombone extraordinaire George Bohanon, are principals of BoneSoir, a jazz group consisting of five trombones, bass, drums and piano.