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Dave Kaye

Dave plays bass on three of Liz Mandeville’s Earwig CDs:  Ready To Cheat (CD 4945), Back In Love Again (CD 4949), and Red Top (CD 4954).

Versatile Dave Kaye is a bassist who possesses lead guitarist stage presence, and works also as band leader, lead vocalist, back-up vocalist, song-writer/arranger, bass-line composer, and emcee.

Kaye cites Jaco Pastorius, Stanley Clark, Bill Wyman, and Charles Mingus as early bass influences. His professional career began at an early age after first spending several years studying and working on rhythm and blues on drums, bass, guitar, and piano with his brother, Greg Kaye. Kaye was first hired by Joe Kelley, the former bass player for Shadows of Knight, a group that made a #1 hit of Van Morrison’s song “Gloria” in the ’60s. Joining Kelley’s The Blue Shadow Band in 1985, Kaye toured the Midwest and Canada for five solid years on the blues circuit out of Chicago.

In the early 1990s, Kaye accepted an offer from former Junior Wells’ bassist George Baze to play every Tuesday at Blues Chicago, where he worked with Chicago’s premier blues musicians and singers such as Alan Batts, James Wheeler, Zora Young, L.V. Banks, and Grana Louise. Kaye recorded on Banks’ Ruby and played his first Chicago Blues Festival with Louise. The contacts he made, along with a growing reputation as an outstanding player and showman, prompted Chicago bass player/band leader Willie Kent to call Kaye to fill in for him with his band The Gents while Kent headed to New York to accept an award.

Earwig Recording Artist and Blues diva Liz Mandville Greeson was working at Blues Chicago at the same time, and she and Kaye, who had previously crossed paths on the Midwestern and Canadian tours over the years, collaborated on two of her Earwig CDs, Ready To Cheat and Back In Love Again.  Dave played bass and created the bass lines.

With Greeson, he toured extensively in the U.S., completed two tours of Germany with the legendary David “Honeyboy” Edwards, and opened for Robert Cray twice. They also opened for Clarence Gatemouth Brown and Delbert McClinton. Upon returning from Germany in March 2003, they headlined at the Park West in Chicago at an extravaganza featuring Honeyboy, Mary Lane, and former Rolling Stones harmonica player Sugar Blue.

That summer, president of Alligator Records Bruce Iglauer called Kaye personally and asked him to tour with Australian Slide Guitarist Dave Hole for six weeks. The band played 36 shows, coast to coast, including Edmonton Blues Festival in Canada, opening for John Hammond and Ruth Brown. The tour ended with a memorable finale at Buddy Guy’s Legends.

Other major performances include gigs with Bo Diddley, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Homesick James, and Drummer Sam Lay (Bob Dylan’s band and Paul Butterfield Blues Band). Kaye has jammed with Otis Rush, Buddy Guy and Rick Nielsen.

Kaye plays a four-string Fender bass because he “likes the feel of it” and because he say’s it’s easy to transport. As for his approach, Kaye’s philosophy is that “bass is not meant to be heard, but to be felt.” The spectacular, pulsating, varied solos he offers are impressive, giving one the notion that it’s not quite as easy as he makes it look.

What’s the key to his success? His commitment to his favorite instrument is undeniable when he states with confidence, “I never want to do anything else but play the groove.”

–Adapted from an article by Lisa Palmeno in the Rockford Illinois Entertainment Guide

dave kaye
Bass Guitarist