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Ron Carter: The Power of Positivity

Russ Davis catches up with the legendary jazz bassist at his New York City home

Ron Carter at the 2011 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

I entered the comfortable confines of Ron Carter’s beautiful Upper West Side apartment in New York City on a clear and beautiful August morning for my first conversation with the legendary, award-winning, bassist, composer and bandleader. The welcome from Ron was warm and sincere, the surroundings were inviting and comfortable, a big, open, bright space filled with incredible art work on every wall, and the positive vibes set the mood for one of the most enjoyable 45 minutes I’ve ever spent in conversation with a jazz musician.

Because of the recent re-issue of Ron’s 1973 recording All Blues, part of the re-issue series of CTI Records classics by Sony/Masterworks, I had been invited to talk with him about that and I took advantage of the opportunity to cover as much as I could in the allotted time. Looking back at those days with CTI Ron remembered how Creed Taylor had the vision to bring all the best players to his label, record great music that sounded state of the art, with Rudy Van Gelder behind the controls in his brilliant studio, package the projects with classy, artistic covers and place the music in the marketplace to compete equally with the pop, rock & soul music that was exploding at that time. Ron went on to mention how much fun it was to work with Billy Cobham, Joe Henderson, Roland Hanna and Richard Tee on All Blues and how some might have seen those other forms of music as competition and a detriment to the growth of jazz he only saw it as another source for inspiration to aid in the evolution of jazz. That was just the first of many positive points made by Ron Carter during our chat.

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