She has been praised by artists as diverse as Merv Griffin (“I love Carol Kaye, she’s the best…”), Quincy Jones (“The Fender bass player Carol Kaye…could do anything and leave the men in the dust…”), and Brian Wilson (“Carol, you’re the greatest bass player in the world…”) to cite an extreme few.
If you lived in the 20th Century or listen to popular music in general, you’ve heard Carol Kaye on electric bass. By her own estimate, she has appeared on over 10,000 recordings in a 55 year (and counting) career. I can’t imagine how many times she’s been sampled. To my ears, it’s impossible to categorize Carol with regard to style and tone as her bass artistry is purely chameleonic: Ms. Kaye assumes her role in any given musical situation with uncanny expertise.
In her 1960s heyday Carol’s choice of tools were a Fender Precision with flatwound strings and a plectrum which blended perfectly on seminal records by the Beach Boys, Ray Charles, The Righteous Bros., Johnny Mathis, Nancy Sinatra, Sam Cooke, Glen Campbell, Lou Rawls, Jan & Dean, Henry Mancini, The Lettermen, Paul Revere & Raiders, The Monkees, Sonny & Cher, Chris Montez, Andy Williams, Quincy Jones, Joe Cocker, Ike &Tina Turner, Mel Torme, Bobby Darin, Frank Zappa, Wayne Newton, Herb Alpert, Don Ho, Al Martino…the list is exhaustive.
A bona fide pioneer of the electric bass, Carol Kaye’s sight reading instructional materials are essential for all serious musos regardless of their chosen instrument!