Carol Kaye: Session Legend Interview
I came across this fascinating video interview with Carol Kaye two nights ago. She goes into a lot of history about her work, her start and her feelings on music. She also spoke about chords vs. scales again – something that I first saw her do a few years ago in another interview.
Here’s a list of the chapters, or questions asked, in the video:
00:00:32 How did you begin playing music?
00:03:36 How did you begin your studio career?
00:06:36 What were the 1950’s & 60’s like for female musicians?
00:07:34 How did you create your sound on the bass?
00:11:07 Why did you choose the bass as your main instrument?
00:14:43 How did you approach sessions with Sonny & Cher?
00:16:52 How can you create music from an idea or concept?
00:21:26 Why did you return to jazz after playing pop music?
00:25:11 What lessons did you learn from studio session work?
00:29:27 How did you meet and come to work with Phil Spector?
00:33:41 What was working with Brian Wilson like?
00:36:18 What was working with Ray Charles & Mel Torme like?
00:39:11 What is the importance of craft in making music?
00:40:52 What do you think about the presentation of pop music?
00:41:39 Can music have a positive impact on society?
00:43:02 What are your thoughts on music piracy?
00:45:21 Can a person be a fan and pirate artists music?
00:47:12 Why do you think so many people pirate music?
00:48:48 Why did you transition out of session work?
00:50:56 Did you ever work with artists who could not play?
00:53:24 How do you feel about todays digital studio methods?
00:54:48 Was every musician you worked with trained?
00:56:01 What is your advice to young musicians?
00:57:00 How do you feel about your history in music?
01:01:55 Who was one of your early influential teachers?
01:03:52 How did you handle playing with mostly male musicians?
01:04:44 What is your memory of the early Los Angeles jazz scene?
01:05:56 What are your thoughts on today’s social climate?
01:06:43 Carol shares her memories of musician Earl Palmer
01:08:02 Carol’s closing message on the value of music
01:08:50 Closing riff
Carol is definitely a jazz proponent – particularly bebop. Its interesting to hear about how the LA jazzers of the 50s & 60s approached rock & roll and pop music. Its also interesting to hear Carol’s views on them (and her line about punk rock).
I think, from watching this and remembering “debates” on Talkbass about the importance of learning chords vs. scales as the basis for constructing basslines – Carol falls in the chord camp.
There is one last thing – its not completely related to this video, but, I came across the following thread on Talkbass about Carol. It seems that she’s fallen on hard times due to piracy on the internet – particularly piracy of her instructional books. Her mortgage was foreclosed, which is part of the reason that she’s teaching again – well into her 70s.
Its disheartening to me to learn that this has happened to her. She seems to have generally led a work-driven life while raising her children and taking care of her mother. I’m going to visit her website and buy some of her materials.
[edit 4.10.2016] It just occurred to me that I should link this to the other Carol Kaye interview I posted before this one: Carol Kaye Interview