Jazz’s first bassist comes to GangnamIf he were the boasting type, bassist Ron Carter could boast of having recorded with Miles Davis, Stan Getz, Benny Goodman, Gil Scott-Heron, Dexter Gordon, Carlos Santana, Lena Horne, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Paul Simon, Coleman Hawkins, B.B. King, Janis Ian, Johnny Hodges, the Kronos Quartet, Jessye Norman, James Brown and Bill Evans.
But it’s just as true to say that all those people could boast of having recorded with Ron Carter.
Arguably the most respected bassist in jazz, Carter, 67, is the latest in an impressive series of players that the young Blue Note jazz club in Gangnam has brought to Seoul. Carter finishes a stint at the club tonight and Saturday, with two sets each night.
Of all the collaborations Carter has been part of ― his Web site says he’s appeared on 2,500 albums ― probably the most revered was Miles Davis’s quintet from 1963 to 1968, alongside Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams and Wayne Shorter. Jazz writer Fred Jung goes so far as to call the quintet “quite possibly the best band in the history of this music.”
Tall, courtly and elegant, Carter has been credited with expanding the bass vocabulary. He told Strings Magazine he’s not content to mark time while waiting to solo, as some bassists do. “I’d rather watch CNN than do that,” he said. “If I don’t solo for a week, I’m cool. There’s plenty of other creative things to do. You can play a countermelody in quarter notes, you can make a tune get tense or show new flavors, you can go from swing to bossa nova to Latin. You can do whatever you want instead of being dormant.”
The Blue Note, which opened in March, is the seventh international affiliate of the historic Blue Note jazz club in New York. Its affiliation has enabled it to bring in such musicians as Kenny Garrett, Diana King and Ahmad Jamal. Slated for later this month are Hammond B-3 organ whiz Joey DeFrancesco and singer Freddy Cole, brother of the late Nat “King” Cole.
by David Moll
Ron Carter’s quartet will play at 7 and 9:30 p.m. tonight and 6 and 8:30 p.m. Saturday. Guests are asked to arrive 30 minutes early. Admission is 56,000 won ($48). The Blue Note is on the second floor of the Kyobo Tower building in Gangnam; to get there, take subway line No. 2 to Gangnam Station and take exit 6. For more information, call (02) 3477-0202 or go to www.bluenotejazz.co.kr.