John Carey

Primary Instrument: Bass

Born: May 26, 1975    

John Carey

JOHN CAREY is a professional bassist, producer, singer-songwriter and music educator living in New York City. He began his music career at an early age, performing regularly at well known clubs in NYC since the age of sixteen. His bass playing, singing and song-writing abilities have lead him to perform, tour and record with bands and artists of all genres, including rock, folk, funk, R&B, blues, fusion and world music. John is recognized as one of the few bassists who can fit into nearly any musical situation, providing solid, song-oriented grooves, whether playing bass in a small club in NYC, out on the road or recording in the studio. As record producer, John has worked with some of the best bands and musicians New York City has to offer....
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“Bassist Carey describes these witty, approachable improvisations as 'organized chaos,' but there seems to be as much organization, with plenty of space between lines and suprising bursts of melody. Free bass playing has never sounded so good.”
- Bass Guitar Magazine

“Bass virtuoso John Carey calls his music 'organized chaos' in the CD liner notes, and this live date ventures outside about as far as anything that’s come my way in recent memory.” “ . . . There are numerous moments of beauty and depth that occur within . . .”
- Ron Wynn, JazzTimes Magazine, December 2005

“When I first listened to this CD, I thought to myself, could the readers of Bass Player take it? Then I got over myself and chose to let you be the judge of this completely wide-open improvisational work organized (at least in terms of gathering the musicians together) by New York City bassist John Carey. With Oz Noy on guitars, Dave Eggar on cello and piano, Frank Belucci on drums, and Rachelle Garniez on everything from accordion to vocals to claviola and more, the textures alternate randomly from aggression to trance to dirge to free jazz, embodying the frenetic and unpredictable energy of Gotham City itself. And all the while, Carey fills the low end with groove and melody fragments, sometimes fretted, sometimes fretless, sometimes heavily affected, sometimes bone dry…and to this listener, always interesting. The irony is that Carey is most known around New York as a session guy, and he just released an album of pure pop/singer/songwriter material that seems practically impossible to rectify with this wild, experimental release. Who knew?”
-Bass Player Magazine, Bryan Beller

“Awesome. . . A delicate balance between sonic fury and melodic tapestries. A stunning collection of psychedelic journeys. A mesmerizing adventure taking me all the way from tranquility to madness.”
- Matt Knobel - producer (Lenny Kravitz, Lauryn Hill, Elton John, Michael Jackson, Will Lee. . .

“It is such great ensemble playing and so free that I actually felt a part of the group while listening. It's a great accomplishment when the listener becomes that involved. It was totally transforming and lifted me out of my apartment and into a world of humor, groove, and looseness! Also the CD package is an extra treat that only serves to enhance the overall experience. It lives! It breathes!”
- Will Lee - professional bassist (The Late Show with David Letterman, The Fab Faux, Hiram Bullock)

“It's nice to hear musicians taking chances and being creative without fitting into a template. John achieved a very expressive music. . . A very artistic project.”
- Mark Egan- professional bassist (Sting, Mat Metheny Group, David Sanborn, Joan Osborne)

“With his new CD, John Carey has given us a fresh new approach to bassist led music. Undefined Psycho-Chromatic G.R.I.D is a wonderful study in ensemble interplay and improvisation. Under his direction the music becomes a conceptual playing field for exciting interaction. John's tone and feel are solid throughout and the instrumentation is innovative and exciting. Undefined Psycho-Chromatic G.R.I.D gets a high recommendation to those of us a little tired of the usual fare of some of today's bass-centric leader CD's. Five stars for originality!”
- Mike Visceglia - professional bassist and musical director for Suzanne Vega

“Beautiful work! I really like the visual-auditory connection. And what a pleasure to hear Rachelle! I got to work with her a bit a few years ago and I think she's fantastic. What a great -- and creative -- combination of musicians. . . Bravo!”
- Michael Manring - professional bassist & solo artist

“Fans of the improvisational side of King Crimson will find much to enjoy here. The same can be said of aficionados of the more avant garde side of Rock In Opposition. This is not background music; it demands and deserves quiet, active listening. Anything less and the subleties of what is being played... the quiet interplay between musicians... will be lost.”

“The CD is extraordinarily unique and fresh. So much of the music is like a good book where five different characters are introduced but end up meeting each other through unusual circumstances. The music dances and vibrates in a million different ways.”
- Lynn Keller - professional bassist (Diana Ross, Rita Coolidge, Michelle Shocked, The Original Fifth Dimension, Nell Carter. . .)

“This is a must have for anyone who enjoys listening to amazing musicians making beautiful pieces of art. I rarely hear it these days...this is it!!!”
- Steve Messina - Blow Up Hollywood

“John has given up his own ego as a player for the good of the ensemble. . . One can really tell that each player is really listening to each other, that the interplay and development of each piece is based on a mutual understanding and respect of the players. It really speaks to the visual art that inspired it. The CD demands attention not coaxes it, and it has a depth that I think many are afraid to confront in today's “popular” music or, for that matter, their own lives. It demands not only attention, but also thought and time. As I said, it is not easy - not all music should be.”
- Mike Dimin - bassist, author, clinician & educator

“New York City electric bassist John Carey and his quintet generates a medley of cleverly articulated modern jazz opuses, morphed with gritty jazz-rock motifs. Israeli electric guitarist Oz Noy adds some bite here, whereas multi-instrumentalist Rachelle Garniez embellishes some of these pieces with ethereal vocals. Carey's modernistic approach to jazz mirrors the New York City 'downtown' aura, but he doesn't necessarily rehash roads previously traversed. Carey designs his works thru variable pulses and metrics. They crank it up in spots, but also use depth and space as a vital component. Cellist/pianist Dave Eggar and drummer/percussionist Frank Bellucci round out this most interesting session, recorded live in the studio without overdubs.”
- Glenn Astarita - All About Jazz

“The use of the instruments on this album almost reminds of the way the musical adaptation of Peter and The Wolf used instruments as the characters.” “ . . .the instruments wander off by themselves into “organized chaos”, but then fall back into place with each other producing some quite beautiful melodies and atmosphere. It's the waiting for these moments within the album which make it a joy to listen too.”
- Gary Lowe - Bass Tech UK

“Ya'll were on the same vibe like a school of fish.”
- David Dyson - Professional Bassist (Me' Shell NdegeOcello, Kirk Whalum and many more.

“It's rare to hear music that doesn't rely on any familiar style of music, yet isn't difficult listening. Even though it doesn't challenge any basic musical concepts in the way I'm accustomed to from most avant-garde music, I found this disc totally surprising and deeply creative. The most important point of reference I can offer is the more improvisational and abstract aspects of the 90s Fripp-Crimson-Gunn-DGM universe, and there are lots of specific similarities in guitar sounds, rhythms, etc, but only at a basic vocabulary level that doesn't extend to any stylistic similarities. There are two main reasons this music succeeds. One is simply that it was recorded as a one-time session of studio improvisations by an unusual ensemble carefully schemed by John Carey, capturing genuine adventure and discovery. The other is that Carey achieved a great balance between the high-tech and potentially sterile elements of his highly processed electric bass guitar and Oz Noy's electric guitar with the earthy, human elements of Dave Eggar's cello and Rachelle Garniez's accordion and voice. Garniez is a major highlight here, occasionally recalling the spirited and rambunctious feeling of Amy Denio, but mostly contributing gorgeous melodies to subtle textural blends. In fact, none of the musicians take on a dominant or soloistic role. Because it's such original music, I'll list some other things it does *not* do. It doesn't have any cheesy or flashy playing by Carey; his role in this music is more as a conceptualist than a virtuoso trying to show off his bag of tricks. He's tasteful and clever, and in the few brief passages where he dips into fat groove chops it works as oblique rhythmic counterpoint to textural passages. The music doesn't rock. In fact, drum-kitter Frank Bellucci rarely settles into regular or sustained rhythms, preferring instead to offer flurries and fragments that bring a mildly jarring quality and let Carey slip in and out of conventional rhythm-section concepts. It's not space rock, funk, fusion, jazz, or some kind of techno-derivative, and at the same time, it sidesteps the trap of polite space/ambient textures. The rhythms are active, yet slippery. If anything, some might complain that the music meanders or lacks purpose, but to me its structural elusiveness is its strongest appeal, a fresh playground for the listener's imagination. It's like a mix of David Torn's CMP work and Tin Hat Trio with an unpredictable edge missing from either of those. The disc comes with an impressive booklet that conveys Carey's charming and eccentric intellectualism and showcases some great abstract paintings by his friends to complete a compelling personal statement of left-field creativity.”
- Michael Anton Parker - Downtown Music Gallery writer

“Ok I am gonna be the first to say it . . .seen ya a million times around . . .your shit is brilliant! Christ I am scared . . . awesome concept!!!!”
- Tim Lefebvre - professional bassist, producer, composer & songwriter (Saturday Night Live house band, The Sopranos, Late Show With David Letterman, James Taylor, Josh Groban)

“Carey is a bass player (fretless and fretted) and he's recruited a few friends to tag along on a journey into his mind. These improvisations are more contemplative than manic, and Carey's bass work is an interesting center for the songs. Unusual and invigorating.”
- Aiding & Abetting (March, 2006)

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