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Reader Spotlight: Tim Carey

Tim Carey

For Tim Carey, getting picked up late from school ended one day being a defining musical moment. It was the day he became a bass player. He’s done a lot since then, as you’ll see in this Spotlight…


I started on alto saxophone in the 4th grade. When my mom was late picking me up from my lesson, I got roped into playing bass on some Green Day songs with my teacher and his buddy. I few months later I got my first bass and never looked back. I started out playing in local punk bands which helped with speed and endurance. I also played bass in my schools’ Jazz choir and orchestra which helped me keep up on my reading. After high school I attended Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, were I continued my development and got acclimated to the Seattle music scene. Since graduating, I have split my time between teaching, touring, and playing locally. I have been fortunate to play all over the US, Canada, and Asia with primarily Jazz and Gospel groups. At home, I play a variety of styles on both electric and upright, gigs range from small restaurant combo gigs to subbing with a touring artist. When I am in the shed I like to work on solo/duo bass arrangements, reading, improvising, an transcribing. Bass is my life and I love it!



Day gig:

I am fortunate to have a day job teaching music. I teach jazz theory and arranging at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle part time. In addition to that I direct and arrange for a local high school jazz band program and teach private students.

Years experience:

19 years

Bands & Gigs:

My primary gig right now is a band called “Groove for Thought”. We have 7 singers, bass, drums, and keys. I have been with them for just over a year. We mostly play college and high school jazz festivals with the occasional club gig. I love the group, the music is challenging and the musicianship is off the charts. I also play with a piano player named Jovino Santos-Neto who is also based out of Seattle. Really cool Brazilian jazz stuff. In addition to those two groups, I play pick-up gigs, do recording work, and occasionally will book gigs under my own name.


  • F-BASS BN5 E-C
  • Chinese Carved Upright
  • EA Doubler 500w head
  • EA and BAG END Cabs
  • Avalon U5 DI

Why I play the bass:

I actually ended up playing bass because there was a need for bass players in my small local music community. It seemed like everyone else was picking up the guitar and I felt like if I dedicated myself to bass, I could stand out and play with better musicians. When I went to the music store to pick out my first axe, the salesman (who would sell me many more basses) totally agreed and convinced my parents to get me one. I am glad he did!

My bass superpower/claim to fame

I think the thing that really sets me apart from a lot of other bass players would have to be my reading ability. I have been reading music for so long and I do it so regularly that I do well with odd time signatures, weird syncopations, tricky fingerings, etc… If that’s too boring for a superpower, I would say my chord voicings, I practice them all the time.

My influences

Tone = Marcus Miller / Anthony Jackson

Vocab = Jaco / Pat Metheny /James Jamerson / Pino

Technique = Victor Wooten, etc…

I am very heavily influenced by the other bass players here in Seattle as well as the bass players I hear on all of the music I listen to. I tend to really like R&B, Soul, and Jazz bass players, even if I don’t know who it is playing.

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