Chuck Rainey

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Chuck Rainey
Rainey at Detroit Bass Festival in 2013.
Rainey at Detroit Bass Festival in 2013.
Background information
Birth nameCharles Walter Rainey III
Born (1940-06-17) June 17, 1940 (age 83)
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
Instrument(s)Bass guitar

Charles Walter Rainey III (born June 17, 1940) is an American bass guitarist who has performed and recorded with many well-known acts, including Aretha Franklin, Steely Dan, and Quincy Jones.[1] Rainey is credited for playing bass on more than 1,000 albums,[2] and is one of the most recorded bass players in the history of recorded music.[3][4]

Early life[edit]

Rainey was born in Cleveland, Ohio on June 17, 1940, and grew up in Youngstown. His parents were both amateur pianists. He learned viola, piano, and trumpet as a child[5] and majored in brass instruments in college.[6] He attended Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee.[4] Rainey began playing bass guitar in the military.[5]


Rainey (right) and Ronnie Cuber at the Porretta Soul Festival 2005

After leaving the military, Rainey joined a local band. His first big professional gig was playing with Big Jay McNeely. He then joined up with Sil Austin to tour Canada and New York.[5] In 1962, Rainey joined King Curtis and his All-Star band;[7] in 1965, they opened for The Beatles' 1965 US tour. He joined Quincy Jones's big band in 1972.[6] By the 1970s he had played with Jerome Richardson, Grady Tate, Mose Allison, Gato Barbieri, Gene Ammons, as well as with Eddie Vinson at the 1971 Montreux Festival, and on five albums of Steely Dan.[1]

Although much of his work was as a session player, Rainey recorded a solo album, The Chuck Rainey Coalition, in 1969. Other solo albums were Born Again (1982), Hangin' Out Right (1999),[8] Sing & Dance (2001),[9] and Interpretations of a Groove (2012).[10]

Rainey wrote the five-volume Complete Electric Bass Player instructional books, and filmed instructional videos. The early bass curriculum at Musicians Institute and the Dick Grove School of Music were created by Rainey. He also wrote columns for Bass Player magazine from 1990-1992.[5]

On November 5, 2011, Rainey had a stroke[11] which paralyzed his left side. He spent four years receiving physical therapy and practicing meditation and Hatha yoga, and made a full recovery.[6]

In 2014, Rainey and drummer John Anthony Martinez[12] cofounded Rhythm Intensive, which provides clinics, workshops, and master classes for aspiring rhythm section musicians.[13] Rainey and Martinez also co-authored The Tune of Success: Unmask Your Genius.[6]

In an interview with Chris Jisi in April 2020, Rainey disclosed that he had retired as a bassist and turned his focus to writing his biography and working with Rhythm Intensive.[14]

A Rainey signature line of bass guitars are produced by Alvarez Guitars and Ken Smith Basses.[7]

Rainey received an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Berklee College of Music at a ceremony on May 7, 2022.[15]


As leader[edit]

  • The Chuck Rainey Coalition (Skye, 1969)
  • Albino Gorilla (Kama Sutra, 1971)
  • Born Again (Hammer 'N Nails, 1981)
  • Coolin' 'N Groovin' (A Night at On-Air) with Bernard Purdie (Lexington, 1993)
  • Chuck Rainey/David T. Walker Band with David T. Walker (Toy's Factory, 1994)
  • Hangin' Out Right (CharWalt, 1998)
  • Sing & Dance (CharWalt, 1999)
  • Interpretations of a Groove (Vivid Sound, 2013)

As guest[edit]

With Alessi Brothers

  • Driftin' (A&M Records, 1978)

With Louis Armstrong

With Gato Barbieri

  • El Pampero (Flying Dutchman, 1972)
  • The Legend of Gato Barbieri (Flying Dutchman, 1973)
  • Bolivia (RCA, 1985)
  • The Third World Revisited (BMG, 1988)

With George Benson

With Delaney & Bonnie

With Donald Byrd

With David Castle

  • Castle in the Sky (Parachute, 1977)
  • Love You Forever (Parachute, 1979)

With Joe Cocker

With Larry Coryell

With The Crusaders

  • Hollywood (MoWest, 1972)
  • Crusaders 1 (Blue Thumb, 1972)
  • The Golden Years (GRP, 1992)
  • The Crusaders' Finest Hour (Verve, 2000)

With King Curtis

  • Live at Small's Paradise (Atco, 1966)
  • Get Ready (Atco, 1970)
  • Everybody's Talkin' (Atco, 1972)
  • Instant Groove (Edsel, 1990)

With Aretha Franklin

With Gene Harris

With Richard "Groove" Holmes

With Bobbi Humphrey

With Etta James

With Quincy Jones

  • Walking in Space (A&M, 1969)
  • Smackwater Jack (A&M, 1971)
  • Body Heat (A&M, 1974)
  • Mellow Madness (A&M, 1975)
  • I Heard That!! (A&M, 1976)
  • Roots (A&M, 1977)

With Yusef Lateef

With David "Fathead" Newman

With The Rascals

With Steely Dan

With Sadao Watanabe

  • My Dear Life (Flying Disk, 1977)
  • California Shower (Flying Disk, 1978)
  • Nice Shot! (Flying Disk, 1980)

With Ernie Wilkins

  • Blood, Sweat & Brass (Mainstream, 1970)
  • Hard Mother Blues (Mainstream, 1970)
  • Screaming Mothers (Mainstream, 1974)

With others


  1. ^ a b "Chuck Rainey | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved February 18, 2020.
  2. ^ Shuster, Fred (August 29, 2000). "RAINEY NIGHT IN HOLLYWOOD MUSICIAN, RECORDING SESSION LEGEND ON STAGE TONIGHT AT BAKED POTATO". Daily News. Los Angeles, Calif., United States. p. 5. ProQuest 281762179. Retrieved July 9, 2021.
  3. ^ Koster, Rick (May 8, 2000). Texas Music. Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-312-25425-4.
  4. ^ a b "Music Legend Chuck Rainey to Lecture, Perform at Tennessee State University". US Fed News Service, Including US State News. Washington, D.C., Iceland. September 13, 2013. Retrieved July 9, 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d Friedland, Ed (2005). The R & B bass masters. San Francisco, California: Backbeat Books. pp. 15–22. OCLC 946460558.
  6. ^ a b c d "The Heart of a Bass Legend: How Chuck Rainey Found His Groove". International Musician. Vol. 114, no. 10. October 2016. p. 20. ISSN 0020-8051. Retrieved July 9, 2021.
  7. ^ a b Friedman, Josh Alan (2008). Tell the Truth Until They Bleed: Coming Clean in the Dirty World of Blues and Rock 'n' Roll. Hal Leonard Corporation. pp. 189–200. ISBN 978-0-87930-932-9.
  8. ^ Jisi, Chris (1999). "Chuck Rainey: Hangin' Out Right". Bass Player. Vol. 10, no. 10. p. 70. ISSN 1050-785X. Retrieved July 9, 2021.
  9. ^ Jisi, Chris (April 2001). "Chuck Rainey's sing & dance". Bass Player. Vol. 12, no. 4. p. 24. ISSN 1050-785X. Retrieved July 9, 2021.
  10. ^ Jisi, Chris (July 2012). "Chuck Rainey Rocks Steady". Bass Player. Vol. 23, no. 7. p. 22. ISSN 1050-785X. ProQuest 1025748122. Retrieved July 9, 2021.
  11. ^ "Bass Player Chuck Rainey Suffers Stroke". Billboard. November 7, 2011. Retrieved May 22, 2020.
  12. ^ "The Tune of Success Live Comes to Dallas!". Dallas Weekly. June 6, 2016. Retrieved July 23, 2021.
  13. ^ "Rhythm Intensive". Rhythm Intensives. Retrieved July 23, 2021.
  14. ^ Jisi, Chris (9 April 2020). "Bass Magazine Lockdown Check-In With Chuck Rainey". Bass Magazine - The Future of Bass. Retrieved May 22, 2020.
  15. ^ Pesquerra, Daniel (May 7, 2022). "Berklee Honors Ringo Starr, Lalah Hathaway, James Newton Howard, and Chuck Rainey at Commencement | Berklee". Berklee. Retrieved May 8, 2022.

External links[edit]