A MAGICAL NIGHT
ONE HECK OF A NIGHT AT THE DIRTY DOG
Miles Davis put together two great quintets. When I first listened to their recordings I was mostly tuned into Miles’ horn. What I have come to understand is the music in both groups was played by some of our greatest innovators in jazz. They were all given a unique freedom to contribute. They didn’t waste their opportunities.
Miles Davis first great quintet (1955-58)
Miles Davis-trumpet, John Coltrane -tenor, Red Garland-piano, Paul Chambers-bass, Tony Williams – drums
Miles Davis second great quintet (1964-68)
Miles Davis – trumpet, Wayne Shorter – tenor, Herbie Hancock-piano, Ron Carter-bass, Philly Joe Jones-drums
CASS TECHNICAL HIGH SCHOOL IN DETROIT
When I look at these star studded lineups there is something that jumps out at me. The two bass players Miles picked were both Detroit’s Cass Tech High School students. Both Paul Chambers and Ron Carter are products of one of the greatest creative schools in the country. Cass Tech rocked. Just ask another Cass Tech grad, Ralphe Armstrong. Well only if you have some time. Ralphe unashamedly shows his pride when talking about Cass Tech. It was Ron Carter who took a young Ralphe Armstrong under his wing, greasing the skids that led to Ralphes, successful career in music. Detroit, at any time, has an absurd number of great jazz bassists. They remain one of Detroit’s principal exports.
PAUL CHAMBERS In 1955 he joined the Miles Davis quintet, staying on with the group until 1963 and appearing on many classic albums, including Kind of Blue. One of Chambers’ most noted performances was on that album’s first track, “So What”, which opens with a brief duet featuring Chambers and pianist Bill Evans. Chambers’ contribution on Kind of Blue is considered to be some of the most rhythmically and harmonically supportive bass playing in the history of jazz.
Judy Adams included in her informative recent Dirty Dog blog on Ron Carter most of his many accomplishments, including being selected as the Detroit Jazz Festival Resident Artist for 2016.“[Carter] is arguably the greatest bass player jazz has ever known.” – Philadelphia Inquirer“Ron Carter is the greatest jazz bassist ever, with his unparalleled gift for creating bass lines.” – Bass Player Magazine
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. This past week he played for some of his greatest fans and friends.
A MAGICAL NIGHT
THE DIRTY DOG BROUGHT RON CARTER HOME LAST TUESDAY NIGHT
I have never heard music played to a more respectful audience than on June 14, 2016 at the Dirty Dog Jazz Café. A sold out crowd which included a large contingent of Cass Tech alumni filled the room with pure joy as these old friends greeted one another.
As soon as the music started a complete silence greeted guitarist Russell Malone and bassist Ron Carter. The room became a sanctuary reserved for respectful listening. Earlier in the day Ron Carter told me that each day he hopes that that day will be one when he discovers a new note, an opportunity to go in a new direction. I think that Tuesday night he found new notes and had a place where they would be heard.
After their set, Ron and Russell joined their friends in raucous good cheer. This was a magical night. This was what Detroit jazz is all about. This was a celebration of life and the art of listening.
Here are a bunch of photographs that better describe that evening than my words ever could. Among the guests that night were two giants of jazz who are both Cass Tech grads: trombonist Curtis Fuller and trumpeter Johnny Trudell. Thanks to Chris Collins, the Detroit Jazz Festival and the Dirty Dog for honoring one of our greats. Well done.
COMING THIS WEEK TO THE DIRTY DOG JAZZ CAFÉ FOR FOUR NIGHTS:
RALPHE ARMSTRONG WILL BRING US MORE MAGICAL NIGHTS, COURTESY OF CASS TECH
PHOTOS FROM JUNE 14 2016