Ron Carter

What Is Soul - Get Carter




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I've continued my look into 'What is Soul' searching deep into Spotify for artists and songs that have a story to tell.


This month it's not a blog about the classic Michael Caine film but about Ron Carter, born in Michigan in the 30's. To say he simply plays bass would be a massive understatement, he is the Colossus in the world of Jazz.


He has performed in over 2,200 recordings--making him one of the most recorded artists in Jazz history, alongside Ray Brown and Milt Hilton. He is actually the Guinness Book of Records holder for Most Performance Recordings for a Jazz Artist.






A member of the Miles Davis Quintet in the early 60's with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and drummer Tony Williams, playing on the album Seven Steps to Heaven and E.S.P. He also performed on some solo releases for all three over the next years.


After leaving the Miles Davis Quintet he was a mainstay of CTI Records for several years. Over the next fifty years he performed with legendary artists like Gill Scott Heron, Freddie Hubbard, Horace Silver, Cannonball Adderley, Esther Phillips, Gary Bartz, Astrud Gilberto, Billy Cobham, Lalo Schifrin, Black and Blues, D.C LaRue, Eddie Kendricks, Quincy Jones, and Roberta Flack.








So if you've never even heard of Ron Carter it is impossible that you have not heard him playing his trusty bass, as his music has been heard for over 60 years on the radio, television, in cinemas, bars and nightclubs. For the record collectors and music lovers you probably already own something he has played on.


He came to my attention by an appearance on A Tribe Called Quest's album Low End Theory on the track "Verses from the Abstract".




As well as all those performances he found the time to release over 40 studio recorded albums as a band leader including Blues Farm (1973), All Blues (1973), Spanish Blue (1974) Anything Goes (1975), Yellow and Green (1976) Pastels (1976) Piccolo (1977)

Third Plane (1977) Peg Leg (1978) and A Song for You (1978).



If all those accomplishments sound impressive, well he is also a multi-Grammy award winner. He won for "Best Jazz Instrumental Group" and in 1998 won a further Grammy for "An Instrumental Composition" for the film Round Midnight. He also provided the music soundtrack for

Midnight Cowboy and the TV show Twin Peaks. Ron Carter also appeared in an episode of TV show Treme, in the episode entitled "What is New Orleans". 


This 100 track playlist only covers a 10 year period between 1970-1980 but contains some of my favourite tracks and many I had not associated with Ron Carter until I started researching this piece, stretching across Soul, Disco and all sorts of Jazz including Jazz Funk and Fusion. Although i enjoy traditional Jazz, my real passion is Soul music and associated genres like those above. It was a joy to create this playlist and so i hope you get some pleasure from it also. 




Approaching 80 years old he is still a touring and recording artist and fairly recently worked with Jeremy Pelt and Larry Brown Jr.

He is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the music dept of the City College of New York having taught there for twenty years and received a honorary doctorate from Berkeley College. He also still finds time to teach bass to the next generation.  


So please pay your respects to Ron and listen to some of the amazing music he has created over the years.




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