ALAIN
CARON
MY EQUIPEMENT
Alain Caron rose to prominence in the 80s as a member of the influential fusion band UZEB, and has continued as a solo artist, clinician and sideman, performing with Mike Stern, Gino Vanelli, Frank Gambale and others.
Canadian bassist Alain Caron's musical career began early at the age of 11, and at a young age he discovered the music that would become his life's passion: jazz. In the 70s he moved to Montreal and started doing extensive live and studio work. The self-taught musician took correspondence courses before journeying south to study at the Berklee College of Music. Soon he was performing nightly in Boston with such artists as David Kikovsky, Tom Harrell, Sal Nestico, Frank Tiberi, Jerry Bergonzi and Bob Moses.
Opportunity knocked in 1977 when he met the Michel Cusson Group. Caron found himself in the company of like-minded musicians who could appreciate jazz and its origins, as well as looking ahead to the future. In the early 1980s Caron and guitarist Cusson formed the Quebecois super fusion group UZEB, along with drummer Paul Brochu. UZEB released 10 albums and sold over 400,000 copies, playing sold-out shows around the world. DownBeat magazine called them one of the best electric jazz bands of the decade, and the band received nine Felix Awards: Best Jazz Album (1983-84-86-87-90-91), Best Group (1984-89), and Most Recognized Artist Abroad (1990); a Gemini Award For Best Original Score (1989), a SOCAN Award, and the Oscar Peterson Lifetime Achievement Award (1991).

Caron quickly developed an international reputation as a master electric bass player and a virtuoso of the 6-string bass guitar. He taught master classes in most of the world's major cities, including Montreal, Toronto, Boston, Los Angeles, Paris, Tokyo, London, Rome, Amsterdam, Geneva and Frankfurt. Many magazine polls identified him as one of the world's top bassists, including Bass Player magazine, the readers of which voted him to the #4 spot in a 1996 poll.

In 1992, Caron produced the first of his seven solo albums to date, "Le Band." "Rhythm and Jazz" followed in 1995, "Play" was released in 1997 and "Call Me Al" followed in 2000. Along the way, he has recorded numerous albums with friends. "5" was released in 2003, followed by the DVD and CD entitled "Live au Cabaret de Montreal" released in 2006. To commemorate UZEB's 25th anniversary, Caron released the UZEB DVD "The Last Concert" on his Norac label in 2006: the only official live concert footage ever released (and ever to be released) by UZEB, featuring special guest Tiger Okoshi on trumpet. "Converstaions" was released in 2007: a beautiful collection of duets with Oliver Jones, Lorraine Desmarais, Francois Bourassa, Jean St-Jacques and Otmaro Ruiz.

Caron has toured worldwide with Mike Stern, Billy Cobham, Frank Gambale, Bireli Lagrene, Didier Lockwood, Tiger Okoshi, Alex Acuna, Don Alias and Gino Vanelli. He recently played a string of shows in Cologne, Germany with the Grammy award-winning WDR Big Band. These performances, arranged and directed by New York great Michael Abene, featured Caron's personal compositions and will be released internationally by the end of the year.

"It's amazing that you can get such a powerful, warm, clear and defined sound, with full-range frequency response, out of a very lightweight amp and speaker cabinet." Caron enthuses. "And the most important thing is: I hear the real sound of my bass. It seems that Markbass has not only listened carefully to their amps, but they have also listened to bass players!"
1. FB: At what age did you start playing fretless bass, and how long have you been playing?
Alain Caron: When I was 14 years old, playing in a top 40 band, a friend of mine had a LANCER fretless bass that I played for a few weeks, but I went back to my fretted precision bass, the sound was more appropriate for the style of music we were playing. About a year or two later, I heard Alfonso Johnson and then Jaco, both on fretless, I took the frets off my precision bass right away and I've been playing mainly fretless since. I'm 51 years old, I started playing bass when I was 12 years old.
2. FB: What influenced you to play fretless?
Alain Caron: It was a closer sound to an upright bass, I was listening to Ray Brown and Scot LaFaro all the time.

3. FB: Are you self-taught or did you take lessons?
Alain Caron: I'm basically self-taught, although I took some private lessons and went to Berkley College of Music in Boston in 1979.

4. FB: Who are your main fretless bass influences?
Alain Caron: Obviously Jaco, but I stop listening to him for a long time to avoid being influenced, I wanted to develop my own voice!...

5. FB: Who is your favorite fretless bass player and why?
Alain Caron: Jaco for his overall musicality and all the doors he opened for us.

6. FB: Do you play Stand-up, acoustic, electric, or all? Which do you prefer?Alain Caron: Yes, I play upright, six string fretless and fretted. I prefer the fretless for its singing quality.

7. FB: What was your very first fretless bass? Do you still own it?
Alain Caron: A fender Precision, I don't have it anymore.

8. FB: What is your favorite fretless bass you've ever played?
Alain Caron: The "F" bass Alain Caron signature six string.

9. FB: What fretless basses have you owned, which do you still own?
Alain Caron: I had a Fender Precision and a Jazz bass, Music Man, different copies of Jazz Bass, Leduc, MF and F Basses. I still have one Leduc, two MF and many F basses.

10. FB: What types of strings and fingerboard combinations do you like?
Alain Caron: I use LaBella Super Step and mahogany finger board.

11. FB: What playing styles do you use - finger, thumb, or pick (or other)? What do you like about those styles?
Alain Caron: I use the finger style on fretless and upright using three fingers (index, middle and ring) and a slap technique that I develop over the years using my thump up and down and my index and middle finger.

12. FB: What bands/projects have you played fretless bass in/on (list as many as you like)?
Alain Caron: With the Group UZEB on 10 CD's and one DVD, Frank Gambale and Otmaro Ruiz on "Natural High", Didier Lockwood and Jean-Marie Ecay on "CARON-ECAY-LOCKWOOD", Leni Stern on "Ten Songs" and "Like One", Hilario Duran on "Francisco's Song" and my own band on seven CD's and one DVD. Different live recording for radio and TV broadcast with the WDR Big Bnad, Mike Stern, Billy Cobham and Gino Vannelli. And many different studio sessions.

13. FB: What is your favorite song you played fretless bass on (studio or live)?
Alain Caron: I can't tell!..

14. FB: What is your favorite fretless bass riff you've written (if different from above)?
Alain Caron: Same as above!...

15. FB: What would you say is unique about your fretless style?
Alain Caron: I have no idea, if you like what I do, maybe you can tell me!...

16. FB: Are you still actively playing fretless bass?
Alain Caron: The fretless bass is still my main instrument and my voice.

17. FB: Do you have any basic advice for bass players looking to take up fretless or those who are currently playing?
Alain Caron: The intonation, playing in tune is the hard part, pay attention to every note you play.

18. FB: Do you have a web site address you would like to share?
Alain Caron: www.alaincaron.com
Basses-2011.doc
click to download
Modele: F Bass, Alain Caron signature series, violin finish, individual RMC piezo pick up for MIDI connection
Année: 1999
Notes: using it live and studio
GEAR LIST
LIVE:
1- F Bass, AC6 signature series
2- F Bass, AC6 classic series
3- F Bass, special design BN6 fretted
4- MF acoustic bass
5- Two Markbass COMBO 121 LITE Alain Caron signature series
Or
One GROUND STEREO PRE Alain Caron Signature Series and two BAS 121 Powered Cabinet Alain Caron Signature series
6- Roland GR-55 (midi converter and FX Processor)
7- La Bella strings; Super Steps( fretless and fretted), Black Nylon (F Classic) and special design Deep Talking bass (MF acoustic)


In Studio:

1- Basses direct into a Radial JDV Mk3 Super DI
Or
2- GR-55 into two Radial JDI Direct Box