Sunday, October 27, 2013

Jazz and Bossa Artist of the Month (November 2013): Ron Carter

Jazz and Bossa Artist of the Month (November 2013): Ron Carter

Ron Carter is among the most original, prolific, and influential bassists in jazz. With more than 2,000 albums to his credit, he has recorded with many of music's greats: Tommy Flanagan, Gil Evans, Lena Horne, Bill Evans, B.B. King, the Kronos Quartet, Dexter Gordon, Wes Montgomery, and Bobby Timmons. In the early 1960s he performed throughout the United States in concert halls and nightclubs with Jaki Byard and Eric Dolphy. He later toured Europe with Cannonball Adderley. From 1963 to 1968, he was a member of the classic and acclaimed Miles Davis Quintet. He was named Outstanding Bassist of the Decade by the Detroit News, Jazz Bassist of the Year by Downbeat magazine, and Most Valuable Player by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

In 1993 Ron Carter earned a Grammy award for Best Jazz Instrumental Group, the Miles Davis Tribute Band and another Grammy in 1998 for Call 'Sheet Blues', an instrumental composition from the film 'Round Midnight. In addition to scoring and arranging music for many films, including some projects for Public Broadcasting System, Carter has composed music for A Gathering of Old Men, starring Lou Gosset Jr., The Passion of Beatrice directed by Bertrand Tavernier, and Blind Faith starring Courtney B. Vance. Carter shares his expertise in the series of books he authored, among which are Building Jazz Bass Lines and The Music of Ron Carter; the latter contains 130 of his published and recorded compositions.

Carter earned a bachelor of music degree from the Eastman School in Rochester and a master's degree in double bass from the Manhattan School of Music in New York City. He has also received two honorary doctorates, from the New England Conservatory of Music and the Manhattan School of Music, and was the 2002 recipient of the prestigious Hutchinson Award from the Eastman School at the University of Rochester. Most recently he was honored by the French Minister of Culture with France's premier cultural award--the medallion and title of Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters, given to those who have distinguished themselves in the domain of artistic or literary creation and for their contribution to the spread of arts and letters in France and the world.

Carter has lectured, conducted, and performed at clinics and master classes, instructing jazz ensembles and teaching the business of music at numerous universities. He was Artistic Director of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Studies while it was located in Boston and, after 18 years on the faculty of the Music Department of The City College of New York, he is now Distinguished Professor Emeritus although, as a performer, he remains as active as ever.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Fact About Music Preferences

The Fact About Music Preferences

People defend their music preferences like it was a conscious decision or a mystical or divine revelation, like God came down from the heavens and told them "this is the music you should listen to".

The fact is that studies show most people developed their music taste in their teen years as a way of being accepted in a social group. If you were lucky, you selected a group with a good music taste, if not; you probably spend your whole life wrongly believing you were listening to music masterpieces when in fact you were not. But if you were even luckier, you took music courses as a child or teenager and therefore made a conscious and educated decision, because music education made it clear to you that in order to be considered good certain music elements (harmonies, melodies, rhythm, tone) must be present and well developed in a music piece.

Yes, there is bad and good music. And some music styles are by its nature better than others. Good music taste, like any other decision in life, is mostly a matter of education; your personal preferences are irrelevant unless they are based in an educated decision. Good is good and bad is bad no matter if you like it or not. If you want to know the difference, educate yourself.

Music education for most people means that their ears will automatically reject music with lack of harmonies, simplistic and repetitive melodies and rhythm, and overuse of artificial/computer generated sounds, all things that science is discovering are not good for the mind; and something the musically educated mind always knew.

Music is food for the brain, but not all music have the same nutrition value. Music with rich harmonies, well developed melodic themes, rhythmic variations, and natural tones create neural connections in the brain that helps people in math and language development among other things. No good is done by telling people that all music have the same quality so it doesn't matter what kind of music they listen to. The goal must be to educate them, especially our youth, in order for them to choose wisely and receive the benefits of listening to good music.