Ron Carter and his Golden Striker Trio, who amazed us, the Istanbulian jazz lovers a couple of years ago at Nardis Jazz Club for two nights, now prepares to come again, this time to meet a much larger audience at the 26th Akbank Jazz Festival. As Jazz Dergisi we directed Mr. Carter few questions to present you a brief and recent musical portrait of this God of jazz bass.
We can count about 2300 albums to your credit. And the musicians you’ve worked with so far are uncountable. Was being such a ubiquitous world-class bassist a challenge for you at times? Have you ever felt tired mentally in your (music) life? For instance, was it challenge for you to play with classical orchestras between your gigs?
Ron Carter: Playing music is always a challenge. The higher standard of music on these CDs, the higher my level of performance must be… I never get tired of playing music.
What’s up at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Studies nowadays? Any coming hotshots you would like to mention about?
R.C.: I have not been involved in the Monk Institute for a few years now, so I don’t know any of those musicians.
Have you ever got inspired by any Turkish traditional music? Have you ever experienced such an encounter in your musical life? If so, did this ever ooze into any of the compositions you wrote?
R.C.: The only contact I have had with this music is the CD that these musicians gave me, and it is very impressive. But I don’t know it well enough to write any music based on it.
Nowadays what is the new inspiration for you in your gigs? Is there any technique left that you haven’t tried your hand at so far? Or any new technique you are working on?
R.C.: The challenge for me still doing gigs is to find a new and, I hope, better choice of notes. To play better than I played last night, to make the musicians playing with me better.
It is always said that you played the electric bass for a quite short time, but as time goes by, do you now come to feel any newfound motivation to play it?
In the past, you used a special piccolo bass which was close in sound to cello. For instance in “Blues Farms”. Do you still use it at times or is it left behind totally?
R.C.: I have a “nonet” which consists of 4 celli, a piano, rhythm bass, drums, percussion and “piccolo bass”. I use that piccolo only with this group. We play about 10 gigs a year, so I am actively using it.
If he were alive today with whom would you wish to record your new album?
R.C.: Ahmad Jamal!
What strikes you the most in Vega’s and Malone’s musicianship?
R.C.: That they trust my judgement regarding song selection, song tempo, song key, song length, etc… knowing that I am open to any suggestions regarding these things…