Carol Kaye (born March 24, 1935) is an American musician, known as one of the most prolific and widely heard bass guitarists, playing on an estimated 10,000 recordings in a career spanning over 50 years.
As a session musician, Kaye was the bassist on many Phil Spector and Brian Wilson productions in the 1960s and 1970s. She played guitar on Ritchie Valens‘ “La Bamba” and is credited with the bass tracks on several Simon & Garfunkel hits and many film scores by Quincy Jones and Lalo Schifrin. One of the most popular albums Carol contributed to was the Beach Boys‘ Pet Sounds.
CAROL KAYE ON SOME WOMEN MUSICIAN GREATS IN REAL JAZZ
Dating back to the 30s, 40s, 50s, early 60s
as well as a few of the later real Jazz musicians,
there’s fusion players who I won’t list here,
fusion is not the real Jazz:
Marylou Williams pianist-vocalist
Shirley Scott – pianist-organist
Hazel Scott pianist-vocalist
Marian McPartland pianist
Dorothy Donegan pianist-vocalist
Mary Osborne NY studio guitarist
Vivian Garry – string bassist
Evelyn Roberts pianist/arranger (sister of Ernie Freeman)
Viola Burnside – tenor sax
Carla Raye bassist
Terry Pollard pianist/vibes
Norma Teagarden pianist
Marjorie Hyams vibes
Melba Liston trombonist
Alice Coltrane – pianist
Toshiko Akiyoshi – pianist
JoAnn Brackeen piano
Vi Redd sax
Arlette McCoy (Budwig)
Peggy Gilbert sax
Betty O’Hara trumpet
Vi Stafford pianist
Ethel Smith organist
Joyce Collins pianist-vocalist
Clora Bryant trumpet
Dottie Dodgion drummer
Patrice Rushen pianist
Jane Jarvis pianist-singer-producer-arranger
Corky Hale pianist – jazz harpist, now producing
This is just for starters of women famous in the 50s for great jazz, or in Ethel Smith’s case, for just plain excellence as a musician….she was famous for playing Tico-Tico on organ like you never heard it played since. Her technique and professionalism inspired me a lot, but it didn’t matter if she was a woman or a man, she was great in her playing – music notes have no gender.
I worked the 1979 Women’s Jazz Festival with Marian McPartland, Melba Liston (she was featured in Gerald Wilson’s great Jazz Orchestra 40s-50s), others. These names represent the finest of Women Jazz Musicians, most of whom worked with the men, and many formed their own Jazz groups and bands like Ann Patterson, Patrice Rushen who are still doing it.
This barely scratches the surface of great women musicians but gives you an idea of who was around, known for their prowess in music, and totally accepted and respected by male musicians and the public back then too. Majorie Hyams was featured vibist with the great George Shearing Quintet 1950s.
Terri Lynn Carrington today is a fine example of a super pro (famous jazz drummer), Toshiko Akiyoshi pianist, Patrice Rushen pianist, Bobbye Hall percussionist, Sheila (E) Escovedo percussionist, bandleader, Jane Ira Bloom, Stacey Rowles flugel horn, Ann Patterson sax, Jane Getz pianist, there’s many more out there too on TV in studio orchestras inc. the Grammy-award winner bassist Esperanza Spalding etc. The great bandleader and lead Jazz trumpet player Ellen Seeling is to be congratulated for her career as well as her work to get recognition for women musicians of today.
Beegie Adair’s piano work is now very popular on cable…she lives in the Nashville area,and works jazz gigs as well as some recording, excellent pianist, good jazz soloist. Patrice Rushen continues to put out some fine music as does Terri Lynn Carrington, Sheila E, Esperanza Spalding, others today in real Jazz – please note fusion is not real Jazz….
Also read Quincy Jones’ book “Q” for he mentions this era and many of the name women Jazz musicians in his book too – pre-rock, and in real Jazz. Yes, I’m in his book too…..he does say “some women Jazz musicians were so great, they’d leave the men in their dust.”