Zack Pride’s inspiration stems from his mother, Gwen Chester-Welch. Being a prolific pianist, organist, and vocalist, she taught him, early in his life, the power of song. This led him to find his “sound”. He would discover the beauty of string instruments at six years old. Upon hearing his future orchestra teacher, Terry Ferguson, demonstrate them, he was immediately drawn to the cello and double bass. He expressed his interest in playing the bass but was told he was too little for the large instrument. He ultimately ended up playing, and adoring, the violin.
The “sound” of the double bass, however, never left his soul. During his freshmen year in high school, the orchestra needed someone for its section. He eagerly switched and sought to expand his knowledge of the new instrument.
During this time, his sister Carol Dunklin, gave him a Charles Mingus CD. This would be his introduction to Jazz. Because of her inspiration, he sought to expand his knowledge with renowned Atlanta based musician Ramone Pooser. Pooser introduced him to Jazz and Classical bass. He showed him the art of walking basslines as well as soloing to find his voice.
He would later further his Classical bass repertoire with Michael Kurth of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Under Kurth’s tutelage, he decided to make a career out of music. Upon graduating Tri-Cities Magnet High School of the Arts, he was awarded a scholarship from Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music with honors. He later earned the Master of Arts degree at Georgia State University.
During his college and professional career, Zack Pride studied with Dr. Wendell Logan, Dr. Peter Dominguez, Scott Haigh, Ralph Armstrong, Scott Smith, Ray Brown, Buster Williams, Peter Washington, Lonnie Plaxico, Matthew Garrison, Mike Pope, and Rufus Reid. Additionally, he performed with such greats as Mulgrew Miller, Lou Rawls, Dorothy Norwood, Robert Shaw, Louis Lane, Robin Eubanks, Vanessa Rubin, Marcus Belgrave, Houston Persons, Frank Morgan, comedian Dave Chappelle, Cyrus Chestnut, Freddy Cole, Wycliffe Gordon, Robert Glasper, Stefon Harris, Mark Whitfield, Lizz Wright, Joshua Redman, Kenny Garrett, Mark Murphy, Sharon Clarke, Cassandra Wilson, Tom Browne, Ronnie Laws, Lonnie Liston Smith, Marcus Printup, Eric Reed, George Cables, Winard Harper, Jimmie Ponder, Johnny O’Neil, and Earl Klugh.
Zack Pride has served with the The U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” since 2008. He’s performed for four Presidents, nine Medal of Honor recipients, three USO tours in theaters of combat, and several notable heads of states in governments abroad. Zack Pride is currently the professor of jazz bass at George Mason University.