Jazz Legend Ron Carter challenges attention span of youth

Ron Carter, bassist. Russell Malone, guitar.

Legendary jazz bassist Ron Carter has returned to his Upstate New York roots tonight for a performance in the ongoing Legends of Jazz Series at Onondaga Community College. Carter is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester who made a worldwide name for himself playing with the Miles Davis Quintet in the mid 1960's. He has performed on some 2500 albums over a career of more than fifty years.

The jazz great quietly entered the performance hall on a chilly afternoon wearing a scarf, light colored leather jacket and a cap. His graying beard and striking height gave him a sense of quiet authority. He tuned his bass. Warmed his fingers by playing with his trio. And, tweaked the sound system to be ready for the evening show.

Carter is performing tonight at 8:00 pm at the Storer Auditorium on the O.C.C. campus. His trio includes pianist Mulgrew Miller and guitarist Russell Malone. Carter told CNYCentral in an exclusive interview this afternoon he plans to stretch the attention span of the college students in the concert hall tonight and leave them with a melody. He sees both attention span and melody as pieces lacking in today's music. "First thing they do is learn to concentrate for a longer period of time," said Carter.

The multiple Grammy award winner said he stays fresh with his music because he still has a story to tell. Carter said, "I can't make the story complete until I tell it to more people than live in my building." Ron Carter plays mostly with his trio these days, but he still recalls lessons learned playing with Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Tony Williams in the '60's. "That part of my career made a lot things easier," Carter shared. "Every night was a great chance to play some wonderful music. I try to keep that in my head."

All off the free tickets to tonight's performance have been distributed. Some 300 jazz fans are expected.