Canadian Musician - March / April 2018 - Page 49

CANADIAN MUSICIAN’S 2018 BASS SPECIAL By Jason Raso T here are so many amazing bass players in the world, and now more than ever, a great number of them are women. If you find this surprising, you should probably get out more. Current events have shone a light on decades of inequality in the entertainment idus- tries and others. Although attitudes appear to be moving in the right direction, change can’t come quickly enough. In some ways, great progress has been made since Carol Kaye stepped into a studio. On the other hand, sexist attitudes still linger. Kaye is a pioneer of the electric bass. A top call session player from 1964 to 1973, she would go on to become a leader in music education. She began her recording career in 1957 as a session guitarist. “In late 1963, when the Fender bassist didn’t show up for a record date at Capitol Records, I was asked to play someone’s bass and liked it, liked its role, and liked creating good Latin-funk lines of my own. I had been a successful pro musician since 1949, play- ing all styles of music, so playing bass was easy as I knew what bass should sound like. [I’d] been there doing the guitar dates for five years always thinking, ‘I’d have played the bass parts differently,’ and so now I had my chance. It was fun to groove, and feel that power and responsibility as the basement of the band, so I started an even heavier work schedule playing electric bass from 1963 on.” Kaye would go on to take thousands of record dates and film calls. She recorded countless hits with the likes of Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, The Beach Boys, and many more. Her TV and film credits include Mission: Impossible, MASH, and The Planet of the Apes, to name only a few. Although Carol declined an interview for this story, she did send a wealth of reference material. This quote stood out: “Would I advise women to be working musicians today? Of course, but just be aware, today especially (worse now than in my earlier times) there’s a few men who will just love to conve- niently attack you (misogyny and/or prejudice) because of their own personal problems with women as soon as you get a sort of a “name.” But for every one of those, there are hundreds of others who will be your biggest fans. They’re there. Look for them – real men proud of a talented woman who doesn’t let ego run the show. It’s always been the fine male musicians who admire and respect the fine women musicians. The rest? Ignore them. Have a few clever retorts handy for the few times someone says something petty, and walk with your head high.” Canadian Musician had the great opportunity to talk about bass and the music industry with five wonderful musi- Carol Kaye cians who just happen to be women. C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N • 49