Category: Carter, Ron

For Ron Carter’s 77th Birthday, a DownBeat Feature From Two Years Ago

ronCarterBass maestro Ron Carter turned 77 yesterday. Ted Panken posted a feature piece that DownBeat assigned me to write two years ago in response to his entry into the DB Hall of Fame. Some interesting insights about Carter’s early days and his career. From the interview:

“Jazz was always in the air at school, but it wasn’t my primary listening,” Carter said. “I had other responsibilities—the concert band, the marching band, the orchestra [Carter played cello exclusively from ages 10-17], my chores at home, and maintaining a straight-A average. We were playing huge orchestrations of Strauss and Beethoven and Brahms, and the Bach Cantatas with all these voices moving in and out.”  Midway through Carter’s senior year, it became clear to him that more employment would accrue if he learned to play the bass, a decision reinforced when he heard “Blue Haze,” a blues in F on which Miles Davis’ solo unfolds over a suave Percy Heath bassline and Art Blakey’s elemental beat on the hi-hat, ride cymbal, and bass drum. “I was fascinated to hear them making their choices sound superb with the bare essentials,” Carter said. “These three people were generating as much musical logic in six to eight choruses as a 25-minute symphony with 102 players.”

Click here to read For Ron Carter’s 77th Birthday, a DownBeat Feature From Two Years Ago

—Peter Blasevick

Two Ron Carter Interviews

Listen to Ron Carter speak candidly about jazz history, his career, his life, and his music in two audio interviews from his official website roncarter.net: a 2002 Matthaias Kirsch interview for jazzradio.net, and an undated interview with Laura Kennedy for WGLT news. Both can be found in the “Interviews” section found under the “Gallery” tab.

Click here to listen to Two Ron Carter Interviews