Contrabassist Carl Royce

He is based in Monrovia, California, situated in the San Gabriel Mountains’ foothills, just East of Pasadena. 

Carl still recalls his first encounter with the beautiful sound and massive form of the contrabass at a performance by a local symphony orchestra when he was four years old. A few years later, his family relocated to the island of Puerto Rico, and he discovered the Spanish guitar and the Puertorican cuatro. This eventually led to a thirty-year trajectory in NYC as a freelance guitarist/cuatrista and composer, with headquarters in a sunny railroad flat in Hell’s Kitchen. During this time, Royce interfaced with many colorful, talented creatives (see Cohorts and Collaborators below.) He served as composer-in-residence at Atlantic Center for the Arts and taught music at Johnny Colon’s East Harlem Music School.

In the aftermath of 9/11, Carl relocated to Los Angeles with his wife and two-year-old daughter. An obsessive and stubborn autodidact, Carl seized this ‘reset’ opportunity to explore the contrabass’ vast range of timbres and possibilities. He underwent studies with renowned contrabassists Putter Smith and Gary Peacock, among others. 

Royce has served as contrabassist in the experimental jazz group The Stratos Ensemble. He is a founding member of improvisational ambient jazz quartet Baker’s Brew, as well as the alt-jazz trio DBC Unit, performing regularly in experimental music and jazz venues. Recordings of Royce’s compositions, performances, and collaborations can be found here.

Carl counts among his favorite contrabassists Dario DeiddaBarre Phillips, and Gabe Noel. Carl is also actively creative in the visual arts, specifically sculpture and product design.

Cohorts and Collaborators