In Concert – Bass legend Ron Carter

“Ron Carter is the most important bassist in the history of jazz. He’s also the most recorded with over 2200 recordings. Ron was part of Miles Davis’ 1960s quintet which featured Miles on the trumpet, George Coleman then Wayne Shorter on sax, Herbie Hancock on piano, and Tony Willams on drums.

He’s on the records ESP. Four & More, My Funny Valentine, Nefertiti, Miles Smiles. He has 30 solo albums. The list goes on. He’s on just about all of my favorite jazz albums.” – Producer, musician, and YouTuber, Rick Beato.

It’s hard to know where to begin with Carter but that quote is as good as any. He’s played on over 20 Miles albums. He’s played with everyone from Nat Adderly to Chet Baker to Gato Barbieri to George Benson to Alice Coltrane to McCoy Tyner. He occasionally steps out of jazz. He’s on Aretha’s Soul ’69. Billy Joel’s The Bridge, Paul Simon’s Paul Simon. He’s even on a Dan Hill album!!!

Ok, you get the idea. A little history courtesy of Wikipedia: Ron Carter was born in Ferndale, Michigan. He started to play cello at the age of 10 and switched to bass while in high school. He earned a B.A. in music from the Eastman School of Music (1959) and a master’s degree in music from the Manhattan School of Music (1961).

Carter’s first jobs as a jazz musician were playing bass with Chico Hamilton in 1959, followed by freelance work with Jaki Byard, Cannonball Adderley, Randy Weston, Bobby Timmons, and Thelonious Monk.

One of his first recorded appearances was on Hamilton alumnus Eric Dolphy’s Out There, recorded on August 15, 1960, and featuring George Duvivier on bass, Roy Haynes on drums, and Carter on cello. From there it was a short hop to Miles’ band.

When I heard Carter was coming to town, there was no fucking way I was gonna miss him. In a previous review I mentioned that there is a fine new club called Jimmy’s Jazz and Blues Club up in Portsmouth, NH. It’s about an hour’s ride for us north, mostly highway so it’s no big deal. Portsmouth has a bunch of nice restaurants and you can get food at the club as well.

The club has somewhat of an odd physical layout. I couldn’t get front and center but you’ll see from the video that we’re sitting over to the left of the stage. I only took one video because the band literally played three, maybe four songs, all of which were over 1/2 hour long.

In fact, in this video, after about 13 or 14 minutes, my phone stopped recording or maybe I hit a button, don’t know. Mostly the view of Carter is blocked by the sax player but he goes in and out.

The Ron Carter Quartet features Renee Rosnes on piano, Jimmy Greene on saxophone, and Payton Crossley on drums. I didn’t know Rosnes but she is a flaming wonder on the piano. Canadian like Oscar Peterson.

That was the only video I took but I found a few of the quartet recently. Here they are at the North Sea Jazz festival in Rotterdam earlier this year:

At the show, Carter told us that PBS had done a documentary on him and as luck would have it, it airs here in the US on October 21st. PBS streams much of its content online but I do not know if it goes outside the US.

Lastly, if you want to hear history from the man himself, here is his interview with Rick Beato:

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