Peregrine flight

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Ron Carter

I was listening to the Dead channel on Sirius Radio yesterday when they played a recent recording of Bob Weir and the Wolf Bros. playing Darkstar. I have to admit I rarely listen to any of Bob's post Grateful Dead efforts as they don't do much for me.

But this one was different. It had the great Ron Carter on bass. When did that happen?

Now I searched for the tune on line and it has not been posted. There is another Ron Carter Darkstar from a year ago but not nearly as good.

Who is Ron Carter?

Let me just say then when people talk about legendary bass players they usually start with Willie Dixon and then go to James Jamerson and on to, take your pick of McCartney, Entwhistle, Larry Graham, Squire, Lesh and Jaco but Carter is right there with any of them. From Wicki:

Ronald Levin Carter (born May 4, 1937) is an American jazz double bassist. His appearances on 2,221 recording sessions make him the most-recorded jazz bassist in history.

So many of the greatest jazz tracks in history featured this man on bass. He is just so musical. 

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.[1] 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. The album's advanced harmonies and concepts were in step with the third stream movement.[5] In early October 1960, Carter recorded How Time Passes with Don Ellis, and on June 20, 1961, he recorded Where?, his first album as a leader, featuring Dolphy on alto sax, flute, and bass clarinet; Mal Waldron on piano; Charlie Persip on drums; and Duvivier playing basslines on tracks where Carter played cello.

Carter was a member of the second Miles Davis Quintet in the mid 1960s, which also included Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and drummer Tony Williams.[6] Carter joined Davis's group in 1963, appearing on the album Seven Steps to Heaven,[6] and the follow-up E.S.P., the latter being the first album to feature only the full quintet. It also featured three of Carter's compositions (the only time he contributed compositions to Davis's group). He stayed with Davis until 1968[6] (when he was replaced by Dave Holland), and participated in a couple of studio sessions with Davis in 1969 and 1970. Although he played electric bass occasionally during this era of early jazz-rock fusion, he has subsequently stopped playing that instrument, and in the 2000s plays only double bass.

Carter also performed on some of Hancock, Williams and Shorter's recordings during the 1960s for Blue Note.[6] He was a sideman on many Blue Note recordings of the era, playing with Sam Rivers, Freddie Hubbard, Duke Pearson, Lee Morgan, McCoy Tyner, Andrew Hill, Horace Silver, and others. He also played on soul-pop star Roberta Flack's album First Take.[7]

After leaving Davis, Carter was for several years a mainstay of CTI Records, making albums under his own name and also appearing on many of the label's records with a diverse range of other musicians. Notable musical partnerships in the 1970s and 1980s included Joe Henderson, Houston Person, Hank Jones, Gabor Szabo and Cedar Walton. During the 1970s he was a member of the New York Jazz Quartet.[8] In 1986, Carter played double bass on "Big Man on Mulberry Street" on Billy Joel's album The Bridge.[9]

In 1987, Carter won a Grammy for "an instrumental composition for the film" Round Midnight.[3] In 1994, he won another Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Group for a tribute album to Miles Davis.[10] He appears on the alternative hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest's influential album The Low End Theory on a track called "Verses from the Abstract".[11] He appeared as a member of the jazz combo the Classical Jazz Quartet.[12] In 1994, Carter appeared on the Red Hot Organization's compilation album, Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool.[13] The album, meant to raise awareness and funds in support of the AIDS epidemic in relation to the African-American community, was heralded as "Album of the Year" by TIME.[14] In 2001, Carter collaborated with Black Star and John Patton to record "Money Jungle" for the Red Hot Organization's compilation album, Red Hot + Indigo, a tribute to Duke Ellington.[15]

Carter is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the music department of City College of New York, having taught there for 20 years,[16] and received an honorary doctorate from the Berklee College of Music in spring 2005.[17] He joined the faculty of the Juilliard School in New York City in 2008, teaching bass in the school's Jazz Studies program.[18] Carter made an appearance in Robert Altman's 1996 film, Kansas City. The end credits feature him and fellow bassist Christian McBride duetting on "Solitude".[19]

What a privilege to hear him play with Weir.

1 comment:

Sanoguy said...

I saw Weir with the Wolf Bros in 2019….:bass player was Don Was who is pretty great in his own right…