Chuck Rainey

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Chuck Rainey
Birth nameCharles Walter Rainey III
Born (1940-06-17) June 17, 1940 (age 79)
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
InstrumentsBass guitar
Associated acts

Charles Walter Rainey III (born June 17, 1940 in Cleveland, Ohio, United States) 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's youthful pursuits included violin, piano and trumpet. Later, while attending Lane College in Tennessee, Rainey switched to baritone horn to join the school's travelling brass ensemble. While on active military duty, Rainey learned rhythm guitar and began playing professionally with local bands. His lack of improvisational skills on guitar led him to pick up the bass, and soon Rainey found himself working steadily as a studio bassist in New York City, recording or touring with many of the greatest acts of that time.

By the 1970s he had played with Jerome Richardson, Grady Tate, Mose Allison, Gato Barbieri, and Gene Ammons, as well as with Eddie Vinson at the 1971 Montreux Festival.[1]

As a member of The King Curtis All-Stars, he toured with the Beatles on their second run across the United States. By the beginning of the 1970s, Rainey had firmly established his place as one of New York City's first call session bass guitarists.[citation needed]

In 1972, he released his first solo album The Chuck Rainey Coalition on Skye Records. The coalition consists of notable session musicians Richard Tee, Warren Smith, Specs Powell, Eric Gale, Bernard Purdie, Herb Lovelle, Cornell Dupree and Billy Butler.

Moving to Los Angeles in 1972, his work with Quincy Jones continued as a member of Jones' big band, and Rainey continued to work as a studio musician on others albums like, Betty Davis' famously shelved session from 1976 or Tim Buckley's Greetings from L.A. About this time, he bumped into friend and Steely Dan producer Gary Katz, which led to performing on tracks for Pretzel Logic by Steely Dan. His relationship with Steely Dan continued through Katy Lied; The Royal Scam, Aja, where he performs on every track except "Deacon Blues" (Walter Becker played bass for that track); and Gaucho.

Rainey's style has always been to provide a rhythmic and melodic bottom that works with the drummer for the benefit of the song. His books on bass study refer to a "sensitivity to music" and a dedication to studying the fundamentals of music theory. While his "sideman" philosophy of bass has not brought him the level of recognition of star players such as Jaco Pastorius, Rainey is by far more recorded than his more famous contemporaries.[1]


As leader[edit]

  • The Chuck Rainey Coalition (Skye, 1972)
  • Born Again (Hammer 'N Nails, 1981)
  • Coolin' 'N Groovin with Bernard Purdie (Lexington, 1993)
  • Bridge Gate with David T. Walker (Toy's Factory, 1994)
  • Hangin Out Right (Char Walt, 1998)
  • Sing and Dance (CharWalt, 1999)
  • Interpretations of a Groove (Vivid Sound, 2013)

As guest[edit]

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

  • Goodies (Verve, 1968)
  • Blue Benson (Polydor, 1976)
  • George Benson (Verve, 1987)

With Donald Byrd

With Joe Cocker

  • I Can Stand a Little Rain (A&M, 1974)
  • Jamaica Say You Will (A&M, 1975)
  • Luxury You Can Afford (Asylum, 1978)

With Larry Coryell

  • Coryell (Vanguard, 1969)
  • Fairyland (Mega, 1971)
  • Basics (Vanguard, 1976)

With The Crusaders

  • Crusaders 1 (Blue Thumb, 1972)
  • Hollywood (MoWest 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

  • Today I Sing the Blues (Columbia, 1969)
  • Young, Gifted and Black (Atlantic, 1972)
  • Amazing Grace
  • With Everything I Feel in Me (Atlantic, 1974)
  • Let Me in Your Life (Atlantic, 1974)
  • Sweet Passion (Atlantic, 1977)

With Gene Harris

  • Astralsignal (Blue Note, 1974)
  • In a Special Way (Blue Note, 1976)
  • Nexus (Blue Note, 1975)
  • Tone Tantrum (Blue Note, 2001)

With Bobbi Humphrey

With Etta James

  • Etta James (Chess, 1973)
  • Come a Little Closer (Chess, 1974)
  • Deep in the Night (Warner Bros., 1978)

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

  • Once Upon a Dream (Atlantic, 1968)
  • Freedom Suite (Atlantic, 1969)
  • See (Atlantic, 1969)
  • Peaceful World (Columbia, 1971)
  • Search and Nearness (Atlantic, 1971)

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


External links[edit]