Carol Kaye

The First Lady on Bass

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One's enjoyment of this CD depends on how much one likes to hear the electric bass mixed up front and leading the way even when it is playing background lines. Carol Kaye was a studio bassist for years, appearing on a countless number of hit records, soundtracks and jingles, over 10,000 sessions in all. She is featured throughout the diverse performances on this CD which somehow end up largely sounding the same. The first four cuts have her playing electric bass to Ray Brown's acoustic on throwaway cuts that largely waste Joe Sample and Howard Roberts. Joe Pass is featured on a few numbers recorded shortly before he began his Virtuoso series on Pablo; he gamely tries to sound comfortable on the rather basic chord changes over Kaye's funk lines. Most of those selections fade out. Kaye is also featured in a couple of live settings (Hampton Hawes is heard going through the motions on electric piano), working with so-so singer Noreen Jackson and on excerpts from a funky movie soundtrack with conductor-arranger Bob Prince. Easily the most interesting part of this CD is a ten-minute National Public Radio documentary that contains her comments and sums up her career. But otherwise this CD is only recommended to lovers of Carol Kaye's playing, for there is little else to recommend it.