Bassist, Producer or Musical Director . . .

John Carey is a top session bassist and in demand performer in New York City and worldwide. He has performed, toured, and recorded with bands and artists of all musical genres including artists of rock, folk, funk, R&B, blues, fusion, world and reggae music. John is located in New York City, and is available for gigs, tours, showcases, recording, rehearsals, private instruction, etc. If you are interested in using John for an upcoming show, recording session, or tour, email:

If you are considering recording your next CD, John can act as producer for your record. This includes recommending the appropriate studio(s), hiring the appropriate musicians (if need be), getting the right engineer on hand, and acting as 'producer' inside the studio environment. Listen to FREE MP3s of John's work as producer on the audio section of this site. . .

In addition to playing bass, John can make himself available as musical director (MD) for your band or project, and act as liaison between management, artist and band to facilitate the demands of a performance, recording or tour. His experience has given him access to a wide array of world class musicians, producers, managers, rehearsal and recording studios.


"Working with John was great. It was like the tracks were already laid down perfectly and we were just listening back the whole day."

-Matt Knobel, producer for Lenny Kravitz, Lauryn Hill, Elton John, Michael Jackson & Will Lee

"I've know John Carey since he started performing at 16 years old and I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to watch him grow into, not only one of the finest bass players in NYC, but also an exceptional singer/songwriter and all-around musician. His canon of work, both live and in the studio, demonstrate that his musicality crosses all genres."

-Steve Messina, MJ12 & Blow Up Hollywood

"John is great to work with and brings an arsenal of different styles of
playing with him. His playing is tasteful and fit right in with my band's vibe."

-Scott Harris, singer-songwriter

"JC brings the live vibe to the stage and the pro vibe to the studio. Musically he gets it . . .an asset beyond his playing."

-Larry Post, guitarist & songwriter of 5th of July

"I have been working with John Carey in various capacities for over 15 years. I've hired him as a bass player, and he's hired me to engineer projects that he has produced. It's always been a great experience working with John. As a producer, he brings a positive, and professional attitude to every session, and he consistently goes the extra mile to make the artist feel comfortable. John also has a keen understanding of what is needed to make the song great; whether it's coming up with musical parts, or coaxing the best performances from the players. As an engineer, I always enjoy working with a producer who knows what he's looking for, and how to communicate it clearly, which is why I always look forward to my sessions with John."

-Gordon Davies, Recording/Mix Engineer

"I met John when he was a teenager & like most of us at that age, we don't realize the true dedication & perseverance it takes to be a REAL musician. Well John realized it & took the bull by the horns. I have personally witnessed the growth & maturity of John as a bass player, songwriter, singer & producer. He has what it takes to go as far as he desires in this business! I'm proud of him!"

-Frank Bellucci, drummer and clinician

"It's hard to go beyond your listeners. If they are satisfied with a cheap performance, you will not easily arrive at better. If they know what is great, and require aspire to reach that place. John's performance consistently rises beyond his listeners. If you have the good fortune of playing with'll rise too."

-Frank Pipolo, Lead singer of Mellish

"After 10 plus years of playing with John, I am still astounded at his ability to adapt himself so quickly to different genres of music. Although John may appear to be white, he plays that bass with the soul of Bootsy Collins."

-Marc Hoffman, Guitarist, drummer & songwriter of Mellish

"I've made a few records with John and we've been in several bands over the course of the last 7 years, and in that time I've gotten to know him really well. His playing has always been top notch, but what really gets me is the fact that he's a triple threat. A great player- always playing for the song (whatever the genre might be), a great singer/songwriter/producer - with an eye for the hook and groove of a tune. And most important, a great friend. Truly someone who understands how to vibe out with folks and not get in the way of the music. What else can I say???"

-Jack Devine, artist, singer & guitarist

"John Carey was a perfect fit for 5th of July. Always professional, he brought his A-game everywhere--- to rehearsal, the studio or live shows. He easily came up with suggestions and new bass riffs that definitely made a difference in our songs! (Listen to the CD and you will agree.) I had a great time working with JC--forever fun to be around, easy to work with and a very talented musician..."

-Sabriena Stone, singer and songwriter for band 5th of July

"John is not only a great bass player but a real visionary; he sees the whole musical picture, not only his own function in the band. When we did the undefined psycho-chromatic G.R.I.D. record, he had this wild concept about doing it that I personally wouldn't have had the balls to do; it turned out to be one of the most inspiring sessions I ever did."

-Oz Noy, guitarist



"John Carey, "Oh So Funky"(2012, Planet Bass, NYC), consists of the music from The Meters, an American funk band based in New Orleans, Louisiana that made their records in the late 60s and 70s. The CD features Andy Narell– steelpans (Chucho Valdes, Bela Fleck, Marcus Miller, Spyro Gyra, Aretha Franklin, The Kronos String Quartet...), Anton Fig– drums (Late Show w/David Letterman, Joe Bonamassa, Booker T. & The MG’s, Bob Dylan, Cyndi Lauper...), Oz Noy– guitar (Chris Botti, Gavin DeGraw, Harry Belafonte, Gov’t Mule, Allen Toussaint...), Will Lee– featured vocalist (Late Show w/David Letterman, George Benson, Hiram Bullock, Brecker Brothers...) and John Carey– bass, vocals, percussion & producer. The recording is filled with super groovy tunes that adhere to the tradition of The Meters, yet utilize the lively and tropical sounds of the steelpans in place of the organ."
— Planet Bass, NYC

JOHN CAREY, undefined psycho-chromatic G.R.I.D. CD REVIEWS:

“Although John Carey is primarily known for his work as a session bassist for artists and singer-songwriters of rock, folk and R&B throughout New York City and worldwide, his debut CD explores the avant-garde: the completely live and improvisational album captures the stream of conscious thought processes between some of today's most talented, unique and interesting musicians. The CD spans multiple genres of music, and in conjunction with the abstract artwork and very distinctive written introduction included within the twelve page booklet, the CD provides for a multimedia and multi-sensory experience . . . A truly fascinating record with an all-star lineup."
Planet Bass, NYC

"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 . . ."
JazzTimes Magazine

“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

“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 & 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 subtleties 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 & MJ12

"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

“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

“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

"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 & many more)

“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)

“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


“Where Carey’s undefined psycho-chromatic G.R.I.D. (reviewed in July ’06) was engagingly experimental, this is more on the singer/songwriter tip. Which may make the bass playing more functional than daring, but it’s no less solid--- particularly the playful funk line supplied to So Bold and the pop reggae of Silly Me."
Bass Guitar Magazine

“Smooth rocker with nice vocals and guitar work with original music. Good candidate for air play on appropriate radio. Featuring Oz Noy, Dave Eggar, Rachelle Garniez, Matt Munisteri, Fiona McBain, Chris Carrol, Jack Devine and Brenda Bufalino."
The Music Review

“Most people recognize John Carey as an in-demand bass player in the New York City area. For John’s second record, he decided to surprise his fans and explore his original singer-songwriter pop songs. In addition to playing bass, you’ll hear John singing and playing acoustic guitar throughout the CD. His music is reminiscent of Sheryl Crow and The Steve Miller Band."
Planet Bass, NYC


“At times it sounds like We Want Miles tonally. . . one of my favorite bass sounds ever."
Tim Lefebvre – Bassist for Rudder, Chris Botti, Wayne Krantz. . .

“It's amazing what a cat with a bass & a vivid imagination can do!!!"
Will Lee – Bassist for The Late Show with David Letterman, The Fab Faux, Hiram Bullock. . .

“JC has once again assembled a killer project which features his slick bass work (and some sick playing from guitarist Oz Noy)!"
Steve Jenkins – Bassist for David Fiuczynski, Vernon Reid, Cindy Blackman . . .

"CD John Carey, "Son of the House" (2010, Planet Bass, NYC), examines the dualistic nature of Gnostic thought: light/dark, Cosmos/Earth, illuminated/unaware, divine/carnal, strange/familiar . . . Heavily influenced by the music of Miles Davis, Frank Zappa, Lou Reed & Larry Graham, Carey visits the sounds of punk, funk & the avant-garde, taking the listener from the streets of the East Village, New York City, to that of the Cosmos."
— Planet Bass, NYC

“John Carey, Revelry Now, revisits songs originally performed by The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Bill Withers, Carole King & more, all with a unique approach placing the Fender Jazz bass front and center."
— Planet Bass, NYC

REVIEWS of The Working Bassist, What You Really Need to Know to Survive in New York City:

“John Carey has managed to put together a beautiful palette of colorful characters in his collection of interviews with New York City bassists, shedding light on how focus, dedication and perseverance helped each one of them make it in the ultimate metropolis of the performing arts. Carey’s book should serve as a great inspiration for any new (or old) bass player trying to make it in The Big Apple."
Patrick Pfeiffer – bassist & author of Bass Guitar for Dummies & Improve Your Groove

“This kind of veteran information can be considered a kind of survival guide to becoming a working, professional bass player, and should be required reading at music schools."
Mike Visceglia – bassist & musical director for Suzanne Vega

“Author and working bassist John Carey has done the legwork for you and interviewed over thirty of New York cities top bassists. After breezing through this easy-to-read book, you will find ‘25 tips for success’, a section with ‘New York City Wisdom, Perspective and Inspiration’ and even a space for your own notes!"
Bass Musician Magazine

“When New York bassist John Carey first approached me with his book, I thought, Finally! New York has always been extremely alluring but also intimidating, massive and overwhelming, so a guide to a bass player’s specific needs is a godsend. Carey succeeds in bringing focused attention on the real-life experiences of a wide array of New York City bassists. . . Anyone toying with the idea of a move ought to buy this immediately"
Bass Player Magazine

“John's book is a great primer for bass players entering the scene. As the Zen Master's say, ‘Fight your shame. Learn all you can from others. This is the secret to a successful life.’"
John Miller – Broadway contractor, bassist & music coordinator

“The Working Bassist, What You Really Need to Know to Survive in New York City, is an essential tool for any bassist who aspires to work in New York City or any other major metropolitan area. This is real world information that will prove to be invaluable to your career."
Irio O’Farrill – professional bassist, music educator, Broadway bassist & author

“Carey has assembled a wealth of ideas for networking, sharing specific bass concepts, philosophy and equipment needs."
Mark Egan – professional bassist (Sting, Mat Metheny Group, David Sanborn, Joan Osborne)

"Relevant questions, interesting and useful answers— a detailed but practical reference for musicians everywhere."
Lincoln Goines – professional bassist (Randy Brecker, Tito Puente, Michael Brecker, Mike Stern, Dizzy Gillespie)