Ace Of Bass

Neal Caine is one of the most sought-after bassists on the jazz scene today. His huge sound, propulsive swing and masterful technique have made him the chosen bassist for an array of stars, from Harry Connick, Jr. and Diana Krall, to the venerable jazz legends Betty Carter and Elvin Jones.  A dual resident of New York City and New Orleans, this St. Louis native has delighted audiences worldwide since he began touring internationally at age 19 with the Delfeayo Marsalis Quintet. Neal has also performed with Nicholas Payton, John Batiste and Stay Human, Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis and countless others. Neal will bring his bass mastery to the Club Room on Saturday December 30 for a fun foray into fearless funk music. Get to know this Ace of Bass and reserve your table NOW!

1. How were you introduced to jazz?

I can’t remember not being into Jazz . I grew up in St Louis playing classical violin at 4 years old, but my mother played lots of jazz records around the house which I used to dig as a young kid, Ahmad Jamal, Happy Moods and the Trumpet Kings at Montreaux were amongst those early records that  I was listening to.


2. What made you start playing the upright bass?

Because my mom forbid drums in the house!  As previously stated, I was a violin player as a child, the Suzuki method. As I got older I wanted to play jazz and it just seemed like a good fit, strings to strings. Plus, and older musician told me there were never enough good bass players and that bass players worked.


3. You’re known the world over for your work with jazz legends like Diana Krall and Harry Connick, Jr. What makes someone a good sideman/sidewoman? As a bass player, it’s providing a solid foundation for everyone else to ride on. Like a magic carpet. In general what makes a good sideman is paying attention all the time and playing the “right thing”, which takes smarts and sensitivity. Also, you have to know when to add a little extra, to differentiate yourself from the herd.


4. What’s the biggest challenge of going from a sideman to a leader? And what’s the biggest payoff?

It’s a lot of work logistically.  As a leader, I’m worried about everyone’s part, as opposed to just doing my job as a sideman only. It’s super fulfilling to hear your musical ideas and concepts realized.


5. Tell us what you’re listening to these days on your music player?

These days I’m back to listening to classical music a lot. And early New Orleans music- Sydney Bechet, Freddie Keppard type stuff.


6. What can people expect to hear at your Saturday December 30 show at the Club Room?

I’m excited to play! We’ll perform some funk and fusion songs that I wrote, along with some other groove based things.


7. What’s your favorite thing to do in NYC when you’re NOT playing music?

I dig going to the museums. The Met is my favorite. I’m a sucker for the Impressionists.


8. Favorite Holiday song?

“The Christmas Song.”


9. What’s in store for you in 2024?

Besides play a couple hundred jazz gigs? Write music for another recording, also write music for an upcoming movie by comedian Steve Byrne.


10. What do you like most about the Club Room

I love the energy and the vibe of the hip people that frequent the Club Room.