Ron Carter is the Joe DiMaggio of jazz

Every live jazz performance I’ve ever been to, whether in a restaurant, a night club, a concert hall, etc. one thing is always true: people talk during the bass solo.

Saturday night at Keystone Korner in Baltimore… no one talked during the bass solo.

Saying Ron Carter has “played with everybody” is a little like noting that water is wet. It’s the second line of his Wikipedia page, for crying out loud, that he holds a Guinness World Record for playing bass on the greatest number of jazz albums: 2,221. Anyone claiming to not know who Ron Carter is has just never heard of music. Funny idea for a cartoon: old-school stereo’s “treble” and “bass” knobs are replaced by ones that say “treble” and “Ron Carter.” (Note to self: send that one to The New Yorker when R.C. finally goes home.)

Not many people can say they’ve played with Miles Davis and A Tribe Called Quest and appeared on an episode of Treme. (Those are like my three favorite things right there.)

And this weekend he added a fourth: Keystone Korner in Baltimore, where people go to actually listen to jazz.

That’s why when the old man with the bass is playing a solo… audience doesn’t talk, audience listens.

I’ve sung the praises of Keystone Korner before, and this post will be no different. They consistently bring in top-quality talent and present America’s art form with the respect it deserves. Ron Carter, too, plays with an obvious dignity (can I say gravitas?), and surrounds himself with the best sidemen (and sidelady!) around. He’s the Joe DiMaggio of jazz, the “Greatest Living Ballplayer” still walking among us, though secretly we wish we could see him again in the lineup with Lou Gehrig, Phil Rizzuto, or Herbie Hancock.

I’m pretty sure when he was up to bat…

no one would talk.

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About moc

My name is Mike O'Connell. I am 41 years old and live in Northern Virginia. I am a teacher, a musician, and an enthusiast of all things American.

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