Photo credit: Christopher Drukker
By Steve Sears
Thaddeus Exposé has a love for music.
Exposé, who will be 61 in November, said, “I’m very fortunate in my life, to have discovered that I have a gift at what I do. And I love doing everything I do.”
You can very easily attest to this, whether engaged with Exposé in friendly conversation, or from an audience seat as he performs onstage, which is another thing entirely.
The sounds become emotions, feelings.
He said, “My conversation with a person is totally different from our ‘conversation’ when I’m playing my bass on stage. It’s more intimate, because they see me immersed into music, and it’s still being delivered to them.”
Originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, Exposé has lived in Whippany the past 21 years.
He said, “I tell people I’m happy that I was born in New Orleans, because New Orleans has such a wide array of culture. Not only is it the food, not only is it the music, but it’s the people, it’s the environment, it’s the history. It’s humbling to have been born and raised in New Orleans.”
Exposé selected the bass guitar as his instrument of choice, and his father was a guitarist as well. When his dad would return home from work in the evening, he and his friends would jam by playing the Delta Blues, and seven-year-old Thaddeus would listen, and occasionally play the drums – all the while falling in love with music. If it wasn’t the live music, it was his dad’s 8-track tapes, the sound of the bass coming through loud and clear on the recordings.
“It chose me, I didn’t choose it,” he said of the bass.
Always the teacher in addition to his playing music, Exposé received his bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Northeastern University in Chicago. Exposé said, “When I got to Chicago, I just took the music to a whole other level. And actually, I said to myself, ‘This is what I want to do for the rest of my life.” After graduation from Northeastern, he received his master’s degree in Jazz Studies from William Paterson University.
Exposé, who is also the inventor of the BowStopper, a device or learning tool that helps people utilize the bow in a more effective way with musical instruments, is also a book author. His fictional work for children is titled Can’t Catch Me, and his trade offering is The Ultimate Jazz Method.
The former’s main character is his grandson, Ramon, who imagines that nothing can catch him as he runs from various things in the book (like bees and a black widow spider), but the only person he doesn’t run from, but to, is his loving mother. Exposé said, “The love of his mother, that’s what I got from my mom, and so I incorporated it with him. The person that he really is close to and that he loves is his mother.”
The Ultimate Jazz Method started out as his 374-page WPU thesis. “It was too long for professors; I had 36 lessons in there,” Exposé said. “Now I have 12. And after I cut it down, David Dempsey (WPU Coordinator of Jazz Studies) liked it. He said, ‘This is a very nice piece that you have here. You should turn it into a book.”
That book is now in its second printing.
Exposé – who is married to Valerie Scott Exposé, and is a dad to Donielle, Tiara, Kelly, Arianna, Ernie, Thaddeus Jr., and grandfather to Ramon, Kalia, Tiara, Mallory, and Julian – writes his own songs and music and has performed with prominent industry names like Branford and Wynton Marsalis, Nichols Payton, and Savion Glover.
“Everything is on a high level,” said Exposé, a 2022 Manilow Music Teacher award winner while teaching at Newark’s Eastside High School, of performing with the above-mentioned talented individuals. “You have to be well prepared; you have to be on your game. With somebody like that, your skill gets better, because you’re working with someone who’s better than you. All my life, I wanted to be with the best person in a room because that
gave me room to grow, to become better than everybody else,”
For more information about Thaddeus Exposé, visit www.thaddeusexpose.com.