Ron Carter’s Low End Theory

“Yes my man Ron Carter is on the bass” — I’m not too ashamed to admit that my introduction to bassist Ron Carter came via A Tribe Called Quest. That was probably ten years ago, and I wasn’t listening to much jazz at the time. Little did I know that “Verses from the Abstract” was just the (Q-)tip of the Ron Carter iceberg; the man has anchored a ton of groundbreaking music (check out any recording by the second great Miles Davis quintet), claiming over 2000 album credits.

I was lucky enough to catch Ron Carter and his Golden Striker Trio this past weekend at Bohemian Caverns. Carter is still on top of his game at 77 years young, holding down the low end with some of the most distinctive and emotive lines ever plucked on four strings. The current lineup includes Donald Vega on piano and Russell Malone on guitar. Malone’s signature bluesy lead lines and hard-swinging comping have made him an in-demand sideman for the likes of Sonny Rollins and Diana Krall; not surprisingly, he’s masterfully adept at responding to Carter’s subtle harmonic cues. Ron Carter is always in his element opposite guitar players — check out Alone Together with Jim Hall or the 2006 eponymous trio recording with Bill Frisell and Paul Motian.

Photo: Andre Silvestre


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