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Ron Carter?

Discussion in 'Bassists [DB]' started by dblbss, Feb 20, 2008.

  1. dblbss


    Sep 20, 2007
    Will somebody please explain the Ron Carter Phenomenon to me? Yeah he sounds great on those miles records but anything else I find suspect re: intonation, soloing, and don't get me started on Bach.

    Maybe its just me
  2. glivanos

    glivanos Supporting Member

    Jun 24, 2005
    Philadelphia Area
    He's a legend player. Just like Stanley, Jaco, etc.

    All those guys were pioneers of their era.

    I saw Ron this past summer in Newport, and he sounded great on his Juzek.
  3. I like me some Ron C, but maybe I'm dumb. Hey- don't 'I don't like______' threads belong in BG?

  4. It is just you dblbss

    Really nothing else to say.............
  5. dblbss


    Sep 20, 2007
    I guess so. You know you guys act like your feelings are hurt. I am asking a question about a bass player. Im just curious what you guys think, maybe suggest some recordings or dvd's to check out , post miles,or just keep on saying he's a legend witch I am not doubting.
  6. Hey dblbss, don't take anything I say too seriously, you're entitled to your opinion. IMHO, I think one of Ron's best (and one of my favorites) is the double live cd of Ron & Jim Hall. Lots of room for Ron to play, 2 musicians who are really communicating.
    Also check out some of the Blue Note recordings (Rudy Van Gelder knew how to properly record the double bass) with Ron like Herbie Hancock's Maiden Voyage, Wayne Shorter's Speak No Evil & McCoy Tyner's The Real McCoy.
    I never liked the way the Columbia engineers recorded either Ron or Paul Chambers.
    (Again, just 1 opinionated guy's opinion).
  7. jdwinva


    Aug 3, 2005
    Leesburg, VA
    I have never seen or met Ron Carter, but when I was at Berklee for a summer session every faculty member I talked to though Ron was a good player and kind of a pompous jerk.
  8. dblbss


    Sep 20, 2007
    No offense taken, but that is what I'm getting at the sound.

    Yeah he's sounds great in 60's Blue Note era, and I actually like his sound on those Miles Columbia records. The bass sound full and warm. It's just the 70's era, I dont know ,something changed for alot of bass players and I dont understand it.
  9. dblbss


    Sep 20, 2007
    Where do you gig up in Orillia?
  10. Don't mind me- I spend way too much time on the slab side & see similar(but completely misspelled)threads several times a day, or so it seems.
    I saw RC & his quartet; good show.
  11. dblbss


    Sep 20, 2007
    Why dont you expand on that. "Good show" doesn't tell much. Good tunes, good playing , please share
  12. True.

    Well, it was over a year ago(maybe two), so I can't go too deep. Honestly, the percussionist stole the show, for me. The guy had a table of doodads that looked like leftovers from a garage sale, & he appeared to use each & every item. It may have evn been distracting to some, visually, but the sounds fit the tune(s).
    The show was at Yoshi's, which I quite like for atmosphere.
    As for Ron specifically, he steered the band well, kept it coming, & to my admittedly inexperienced ears, intonated very well. I might not have like it so much if I were more versed in his Miles-era work. :D
  13. TomSauter


    Dec 22, 2004
    Kennesaw, GA
    I'll give you a bunch of reasons why I think Ron is great. While a lot of people don't care for his recorded sound, he has a really great touch on the instrument--his notes are very consistent and clear all the time, and he gets a nice round tone from the bass. His basslines are second to none, and very appropriate in every situation, whether he's playing with beboppers, more modern players, avant garde, R&B, etc. His rhythmic feel is incredible, and he's very advanced harmonically.

    People like to say he's not a good soloist, and I don't necessarily like all of his solos, but he's actually one of the more versatile soloists on bass. Much more so than Ray Brown or NHOP. He can play all the bop language, and he plays some nice free solos and rubato solos, and most importantly his solos fit the style of the music.

    Some great non-Miles recordings of him are Sweet Rain by Stan Getz--check him out on O Grande Amor, perfect jazz/latin bass playing. He also does lots of cool rhythmic stuff on Windows and makes Stan Getz get lost momentarily, and then he actually spaces out or something and screws up the form on Chick Corea's solo. He's killer on Sugar by Stanley Turrentine, Speak Like a Child by Herbie Hancock (check out Toys). A more recent recording where he sounds really great is Musicale by Eric Reed. He sounds great on Branford Marsalis' first record, Scene's in the City or something like that.

    The whole thing about him not sounding good after 1967 is a myth. His playing is virtually unchanged, he just switched strings and started using an amp. And as far as the intonation goes, I don't think he's anymore out of tune than anyone else, but the strings he uses are incredibly bright and very unforgiving, so any intonation mistakes are magnified. And I only notice the intonation during his solos, I don't recall ever hearing him play out of tune while he's walking, or playing a unison figure for that matter. Nobody likes that Bach record he did, so that's a fair criticism:)

    When people like Herbie Hancock, Mulgrew Miller, John Pattitucci, Christian McBride etc. proclaim him as the greatest/their favorite/legendary bassist, it's pretty obvious there's a reason for the phenomenon.
  14. Jake


    Dec 11, 1999
    word......he is no doubt one of the greats.
  15. TomSauter


    Dec 22, 2004
    Kennesaw, GA
    I'm not trying to be rude, but this kind of comment is totally uncalled for. Getting on a public forum and saying "I have never seen or met so-and-so, but I hear he's a pompous jerk" is not cool at all. And I have met Ron and he was a perfectly nice guy with a good sense of humor.
  16. dblbss


    Sep 20, 2007
    Hey Tom

    Thanks for the great reply. Finally an informed opinion. This is what I was looking for. Maybe I should have chosen a more diplomatic way of asking about Ron.

    As far as his setup, doesnt he use those black, nylon Labella's. I thought they were a darker sounding string.

    He sounds great on that Rosa Passos "Entre Amigos" recording. I wish his bass sounded like that more often.
  17. chuck1073

    chuck1073 Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2003
    Preston, CT
    Another recording of RC's that you should check out is "Third Plane" with Herbie Hancock and Tony Williams. RC get's an extremely growly tone on that album. There's a wild version of Stella on that one...and RC's playing is hot for sure.
    Not sure, considering his tone on more recent records, that it's one of his fav's but...I like it alot.
  18. I'm gonna take a swing at this, I like Ron Carter, because he has always been a pioneer, that said he has also pioneered himself, that is to say he has always progressed and changed his style. In the late 50s and 60s he thumped just as hard as any one on walkin lines, later he got into the use of the piccolo bass which he used to do some really progressive things, check out the album Piccolo, it's really an interesting cd. He still is going strong now a day and still performs.

    In terms of describing his skills, from what I've observed he has pretty good intonation(at least to a point that criticizing it too much would be splitting hairs) and great rhythm and feel for Jazz. He's always been able to take a wicked bop or blues solo and even has been known to get creative with the bow from time to time. In terms of the bow I have noticed some minor tone and intonation issues, but this is in comparison to some great classical guys, so once again splitting hairs, he's definitely up there with Richard Davis for one of the guys who used the bow best.
    Another thing that I'd like to note is that the guy has played in everything from duos up to big combos (not sure if he's done big band) and has earned his place in the jazz community. The jazz community is very non-politic you prove yourself with what you play so I dont really think there are any false gods in jazz.
  19. MLysh


    Oct 11, 2007
    "Will somebody please explain the Ron Carter Phenomenon to me?"

    Has anyone taken straight-ahead, swinging time to a more "advanced" or "modern" place than Ron did with Tony Williams? There may be a few equals, but I don't think anyone has surpassed it. To say, yeah, yeah, yeah, I know all that is to dismiss it without truly acknowledging its importance. This attitude of "What have you done for me lately?" undermines so much of what is valuable in our public and cultural lives.

    As a bassist, if you hear that laserbeam intensity, coupled with the taffy-like elastic swing and superb note choice, and not want to integrate some part of it into your playing, then perhaps jazz really is dead.

    And, Ron's not even my favorite bassist.

    ps. check out Chet Baker's "She Was Too Good To Me" for some great "direct to the board" Carter.

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