Robert Black, a member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, loaded his double-bass onto a flight from Fortaleza, Brazil, to New York. That was a week ago. Since then there has been no sign of the instrument and no help from the airline, TAM, which is the largest in Brazil.
Here’s the story in Robert’s own words:
The unthinkable seems to be happening. I returned to NY from Brazil on TAM airlines on Tuesday morning (7/22) – but my double bass had not been put on my flight. I filed a lost baggage claim with TAM. It is now 3 1/2 days later and the airline has no idea where the instrument is. I’m trying to stay optimistic, but also starting to fear the worst.
To all of the students and teachers at the Festival Eleazar de Carvalho in Fortaleza – as the festival concludes and you start to travel home through various airports, be on the lookout for my bass and let me know if you see it. The case looks like this.
Now 5 days after losing my double bass, TAM Airlines still cannot find it. After countless calls and email messages, they cannot provide me with any information.
Time to go to some agencies outside of TAM.
The bass is one of Patrick Charton’s B-21 models he made for me in 2009 (No. 13). It is a very unique and distinctive instrument. There are only about 30 of these instruments in the world. It easily stands out and cannot be confused for any other bass. There is a unique dedication inscribed inside. In the following photos, especially notice the neck block, scroll, and f-holes.
Along with the instrument, there were two German bows – one made by Robert Dow and the was carbon fiber.
What makes this situation even more unbelievable is that on my TAM flight from NY to Sao Paulo, the bass wasn’t delivered until the next day. On my TAM flight from Sao Paulo to Fortaleza a few day later, the bass wasn’t delivered until the next day. And now my TAM flight from Fortaleza to NY – 5 days and no bass. This is not the typical overweight-oversize bass case – it is 48 x 30 x 12 inches and weighs 50 pounds. There is room on the planes for it.
Message for TAM: Get that bass back to Mr Black or face the concerted wrath of musicians.
h/t: Daniel Wolf