Colescott Rubin was born in 1996 in Santa Rosa, California to Tamara Rubin – a single mother, performing artist and nonprofit/arts administrator. In 2001 his mother met and married Leonard Rubin, an inventor and musician/music collector with a lifelong passion for jazz (kindled listening to his parents’ jazz record collection as a child—and later nurtured while consorting with amazing musicians in New York City and at Berklee College of Music in the 1970s). Leonard has been a huge influence on Colescott’s music education over the years.
Colescott was introduced to music at a very early age as his family used to take him to concerts in Golden Gate Park, and to music festivals across California each summer. His first music lessons were in violin when he was five years old. [The sound of the violin hurt his ears so much he vowed he would never play a high pitched instrument ever again.]
His family moved to Portland, Oregon in 2002. In Portland he started piano when he was 8 years old. When he began 5th grade at the Portland Waldorf School, he was the tallest kid in the class—so the teacher put a bass in his hands.
In 6th grade he moved to public school where he chose to take up baritone horn. During middle school he also played sousaphone and marimba and eventually swapped his student baritone for a professional euphonium (the horn cost more than twice the cost of his parent’s [older used] car at the time (!) but he found a sponsor to help him get the instrument).
In 8th grade he began playing jazz bass with the school jazz band and he also participated in the Portland Youth Philharmonic (PYP) Wind Ensemble and Conservatory Orchestra on euphonium and bass. PYP gave him his first music-program scholarship and also loaned him a bass, so he was able to practice bass at home for the first time. His first private instructor on bass was Dan Presley of the group Tall Jazz.
Entering high school (Fall 2010), he continued with euphonium and bass and that winter he chose to leave the traditional high school environment for an “alternative schooling experiment”—that would better serve his musical education… At just 14 years old, he began taking classes exclusively at Portland State University, studying academics as well as music theory and improvisation. Over his three years at Portland State, he participated in many of the ensembles offered, including the concert band, brass ensemble, tuba ensemble, as well as the Hard Bop, Bebop, and Contemporary jazz combos, working with some of the most talented teachers Portland has to offer including George Colligan, JáTtik Clark, Darrell Grant, Alan Jones, and many others. While at PSU his private lesson instructor for bass was Glen Moore, and JáTtik was his private instructor on euphonium.
In 2012 Colescott left the Portland Youth Philharmonic so he could focus on jazz, and shortly thereafter was invited to play trombone in the prestigious American Music Program (AMP) Pacific Crest Jazz Orchestra, directed by Grammy-winner Dr. Thara Memory. AMP is a jazz big band and combo designed to train high schoolers to be at a professional level by the time they graduate. AMP participates in and regularly wins the largest and most competitive jazz festivals in the country. Since joining AMP he has played trombone, bass trombone and bass, and has won top awards in several national competitions (on both trombone and bass), both as part of the big band and for his work in a smaller combo on bass. [See his resume for performance and award details.]
Colescott has three younger brothers (ages 6, 10 and 12) two of whom have developmental disabilities as a result of being lead-poisoned as babies in 2005. When not rehearsing, practicing or performing he enjoys playing music and games with them and teaching them how to play instruments. He’s a wonderful role model and a friend to his brothers – inspiring and engaging them musically every day. He also volunteers to help his mother with her nonprofit for childhood lead poisoning prevention and has done some volunteering (including music) on her documentary film on the subject. Because of the financial hardship caused by his brothers’ disabilities his family has been unable to support Colescott’s musical endeavors and he has found many creative ways to continue his studies.
PYWE /PYCO and AMP have given him scholarships to participate in their programs. PSU / PYWE and others have loaned him instruments (basses and a bass trombone.) He has also frequently traded for lessons with instructors – trading everything from helping them with music-realated project (creating and maintaining music catalogs, acting as a P.A. for concerts, etc.) to painting Glen Moore’s home and tending his garden while he was on tour in exchange for lessons!
For his 18th birthday (July 2014) Colescott finally got his very own bass – after having borrowed instruments from generous and supportive friends and program leaders for years.
Given the rich jazz community in Portland, Colescott
also met and became friends with several world-class musicians, including jazz great, Chuck Israels. Chuck has taken Colescott on as a student and assistant/intern, giving Colescott unparalleled opportunities to learn about jazz performance, arranging and composition, the “business” of jazz—and many nuances of playing jazz bass. Cole accompanies Chuck to gigs as an assistant and also helps him organize and maintain his music library and prepare sheet music for Chuck’s big band rehearsals.
Over the last several years Colescott has also established himself as a professional musician, playing at regular gigs as well as special events in Portland, Oregon and elsewhere – and serving as a “sub” when other professionals are unable to participate in their regularly scheduled rehearsals. [In addition to his musical skill and enthusiasm for the craft, he is known locally for his punctuality, high level of integrity and professionalism.] He joined the Musicians Union in 2015.
Colescott has applied to and been accepted at four of the top ten most prestigious music colleges in the country (Berklee College of Music, the New England Conservatory of Music, The New School for Contemporary Music and Jazz and the Manhattan School of Music) and will be deciding in the coming weeks where he will spend the next four years of his musical journey.