The NAMM TEC Committee announced pioneer and bassist extraordinaire Carol Kaye as the recipient of this year’s Les Paul Innovation Award alongside top hitmaker, producer, and performer, Peter Asher, who will be inducted to the NAMM TEC Hall of Fame. The Les Paul Innovation Award is given on behalf of the Les Paul Foundation to honor individuals that have set the highest standards of excellence in the creative application of artistry in the spirit of the famed audio pioneer, inventor, and musician, Les Paul. The TEC Hall of Fame induction includes an award that recognizes pioneers of audio technology and the music industry’s most accomplished producers and audio technicians. Kaye and Asher will be honored in-person at the 37th Annual NAMM Technical Excellence & Creativity Awards (TEC Awards) on Saturday, June 4, at The 2022 NAMM Show in Anaheim, California.
Michael Braunstein, Executive Director of The Les Paul Foundation says “This year’s Les Paul Innovation Award recipient is a legend in the music industry and a very well deserving individual that played with Les during her career. Carol pioneered a path that pushed open the door for many women in the business and with it, built a legacy that will continue to encourage all people to create incredible sounds just like Les did. Congratulations Carol and welcome to the prestigious list of awardees that celebrate our friend, Les Paul.”
With a career spanning decades, Carol Kaye is not only a pioneer in the male-dominated world of pop recording sessions, but one of the industry’s most prolific musicians. Kaye can be heard on more than 10,000 recordings – from timeless, classic songs to TV and movie scores of almost every kind.
The child of professional musicians, she began playing in 1949 as a professional jazz guitarist in bands around Los Angeles, performing alongside acts such as Jack Sheldon, Teddy Edwards, Billy Higgins, and Bob Neal, all while giving guitar lessons. In 1957, Kaye moved into studio work, notably performing guitar on Sam Cooke’s “Summertime” and “What a Wonderful World.”
In 1963, Kaye switched to the bass guitar when a fellow musician failed to show up for a recording session. Soon she was setting the bass line, often creating her own, and fueling creativity in the sessions.
Her signature style can be heard alongside artists including Herb Alpert; the Beach Boys; Glen Campbell; Ray Charles; Joe Cocker; Dean Martin; Elvis Presley; Lou Rawls; the Righteous Brothers; Simon and Garfunkel; Frank Sinatra; Nancy Sinatra; Sonny and Cher; Barbara Streisand; Frank Zappa and many more. Notably, Kaye played on Campbell’s “Wichita Lineman,” The Beach Boy’s “Good Vibrations,” Cocker’s “Feelin’ Alright,” the Monkees’ “I’m A Believer,” and many other top hits, as well the themes to Mission Impossible, Shaft, and all of Quincy Jones’ movies in the 1960s and 70s.
In addition to her time playing, she has authored over 27 bass tutoring books and instructional videos. Her definitive method book, How To Play The Electric Bass, and others, have been cited dozens of times by current studio musicians as their primary source of instruction. View her Oral History from the NAMM Resource Center here: https://www.namm.org/library/oral-history/carol-kaye
With the receipt of the award, Kaye joins a list of Les Paul winners that include the likes of Joni Mitchell (2020), Peter Frampton (2019), Slash (2015), Pete Townsend (2013), Paul McCartney (2000) and many others.
For his timeless work and artistic innovation, Peter Asher will be inducted and presented with the TEC Hall of Fame award. Throughout his decades-long career in the music industry, Asher has earned the reputation of being one of the industry’s most sought-after producers and performers. His career began in the ‘60s as the other half of the pop group Peter & Gordon. After the group disbanded, Asher was named Director of A&R at the Beatles’ Apple Records label, where he signed a then-unknown James Taylor. Asher would go on to work with the likes of Cher, Bonnie Raitt, Linda Ronstadt, Ringo Starr, and many others, earning him three GRAMMY® Awards for his talents.
With the TEC Hall of Fame Award, Asher joins the likes of Dave Pensado and Herb Trawick (2020), Leslie Ann Jones (2019), The Section (2018), Jack Douglas (2017), and many others who have received the award since its founding in 1991.
In addition to the two honorees, the evening will recognize finalists for each of the 28 TEC award categories, which honor the creative achievements of individuals and teams, as well as the companies, products, and technical innovations used in sound recordings, films, broadcast television, and video games. As previously announced, actor, comedian, musician, and producer, Fred Armisen, will return to host the evening awards event.
The TEC Awards are made possible through the generosity of sponsors, including Presenting sponsors the Les Paul Foundation; C.F. Martin & Co.; Harman; Eventide; International Music Software Trade Association; L-acoustics; Leapwing; OWC; The Recording Academy; Shure; and Synchrony Financial, with additional support from 100 GROUP; AVID; Broadjam; The Blackbird Academy; CAS – Cineman Audio Society; Game Audio Network Guild (GANG); ixi Mega; Korg; LATAM STAGE; Millennia: MPSE; Musica y Mercado; sE Electronics International, Inc.; Sonic Scoop; Studioexpresso; TASCAM; Wholegrain Digital; Wonder Wonder Sound; WSDG and many others.