Instagram-famous jazzman Xavier Foley moved to KC from Jersey to work on his own compositions

Photo provided by Xavier Foley

Kansas City-based bassist and composer Xavier Foley is quickly gaining a following on Instagram (@xavierfoleybass). He now has over forty thousand followers on the platform, where he shares Reels of himself playing his own compositions on solo bass in his West Bottoms apartment.

While solo bass music may not be your go-to genre, Foley has gained a following for a reason. His videos don’t just showcase the versatility of the instrument. They also show Foley’s versatility as a performer and composer. 

“I’m influenced mostly by R&B and soul, but a little bit of everything,” Foley says. That “little bit of everything” is especially prevalent on his Instagram feed, where he has shared compositions heavily influenced by 1980s pop music, traditional Irish music, tango, metal, country and beyond. Foley defies genre, combining his sprawling influences, adventurous writing style and impeccable technique.

Although Foley is most frequently labeled as a classical musician, his music is influenced by an array of popular styles, and his followers represent this array. While there are quite a few listeners and music lovers in the mix, much of Foley’s following includes fellow performers, from prolific jazz artists to orchestral musicians.

But Foley is doing a lot more than creating content on Instagram. 

The sought-after performer and educator has had quite the summer traveling across the country. In the past few months, Foley has been a featured artist at music festivals from coast to coast, including the prestigious Bravo! Vail Music Festival in Colorado, where he performed alongside the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. His schedule isn’t dying down anytime soon.

This month, Foley will be a featured artist with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, performing his own concerto for double bass and orchestra, as well as Giovanni Bottesini’s Concerto No. 2. 

But in his downtime (which has been limited lately), Foley is glad to call Kansas City his home base, where he does much of his composing and practicing. He has been living in KC for nearly a year now—he first made his way here when, tired of New Jersey, he went on a road trip. “I made a stop in Kansas City and decided to stick around,” Foley says.

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