Ron Carter Trio
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Ron Carter is one of the greatest double bassists in the history of jazz, and his musical prowess and achievements have long been recognised. Carter, now at the ripe age of 81, has worked with many musical greats, including Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock. He is living jazz history, and watching his live performance is a testament in itself.
style can be considered textbook material: a smooth bassline, a lively but steady bass pizzicato; he is great at emphasising chord tones in different intervals and things like double stops are a walk in the park to him. But the most fascinating thing about him is his unique sound. With techniques such as popping, hammer-ons and glissandos, Carter's sound has a vocalise quality that shines through during his solo improvisatory passages.
Does the tonal expression depend more on the musician's hands, or on the choice of his instrument's design, material and other details? While it may not be possible to get an absolute answer, it is obvious that Ron Carter treats them as equally important. So, nitpicking for nitpicking’s sake, we need to know that Carter's double bass was custom-built in the Czech Republic, and the strings he uses are from a specific handcrafted brand. His instruments have brought new possibilities to his music. He was the first to work with a bass luthier to improve the instrument, lowering its fixed pitch to a low C. On the other hand, during a solo passage, Carter would use a piccolo bass, which is one octave higher than conventional bass tuning, to put the limelight on the lead player. This way of thinking might have something to do with his background as a cellist.
For a musician to be picked to be a member of the Ron Carter Trio is an honour in itself and a recognition of his virtuosity. For that reason, the two accompanying members – pianist Donald Vega and guitarist Russell Malone – definitely should not be overlooked. But what Hong Kong fans are most excited about is Ted Lo's presence as special guest. Having long been a key figure in the local jazz and pop scene, Lo used to be a member of the Ron Carter Quartet. We can expect sizzling sparks in this long-awaited reunion.
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