Jack Casady (born John William Casady, April 13, 1944), is an American musician considered one of the foremost bass guitarists of the rock music era. First playing in Washington D.C. area rhythm and blues bands, he became one of the founding members of Jefferson Airplane when Jorma Kaukonen invited him to join in the summer of 1965. Jefferson Airplane became the first successful exponent of the San Francisco sound, characterised as loud, raw, unpolished powerful rock and roll with plenty of feeling and an improvisatory dimension. Their singles, which had a more polished style, successfully charted in 1967 and 1968. They are one of the best remembered bands of the "psychedelic sixties," inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
Casady adjusted his bass and amplifier for a bigger and more luxurious tone, and as a song's performance developed, stepped beyond the conventional rhythmic supporting-the-chords role of rock & roll, in order to explore other possible melodic ideas offered by the rhythm and chord progressions. Live Airplane album Bless its Pointed Little Head demonstates Casady's unique style to the fullest. Other noteworthy basslines on JA albums include "Rejoyce" and "Watch Her Ride" (After Bathing at Baxters, 1967), "If you Feel" and "The House on Pooneil Corners" (Crown of Creation, 1968). The live version of "Volunteers" on the Woodstock album is a perfect example of harmonious bass and keyboard rhythm with Nicky Hopkins. Solo on Candy Man (Hot Tuna's First Pull up then Pull down, 1971) also shows Casady's ability at carrying the melody rather than just playing generic scales, a key characteristic of his bass soloing work.
Together with Kaukonen, Casady founded Hot Tuna, which he still fronts today. Casady is equally comfortable accompanying an acoustic Kaukonen ("Mann's Fate", 1970) or electric jamming ("John's Other", 1971). Some exquisitely intricate playing is evident on Burgers, released in 1972. Later work, especially Live in Japan (1997), still boasts some devastating solos, reminding bass purists that he has not lost his touch. Casady also occasionally played with the other key San Francisco band, the Grateful Dead.
Casady helped found a short-lived modern rock quartet, SVT, in the early 1980s.