Wyld Ryce

S3 E29 | CLIP

Double Bass

Ron Carter and Gary Carr have technique, but they also have the vision.

AIRED: May 14, 1980 | 0:07:04
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

AND NOW LET'S END WITH A LOOK

AT TWO REMARKABLE PERFORMERS

ON THE DOUBLE BASS.

IT MAY BE A SMALL PYRAMID AS

MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS GO, BUT

RON CARTER AND GARY KARR ARE

RIGHT AT THE TOP.

THEY NOT ONLY HAVE TECHNIQUE,

BUT THEY'VE GOT A SPECIAL

VISION OF THEMSELVES AND THEIR

INSTRUMENT THAT GOES WAY

BEYOND WHAT'S CONVENTIONAL.

I KNOW TOO MANY PROFESSIONAL

MUSICIANS WHO HAVE GOOD

TECHNIQUE BUT JUST DON'T HAVE

THE VISION.

THEY WILL NEVER GO TO THE

FRONTIERS THE WAY THESE GUYS DO.

[ ♪♪ ]

>> THIS IS JAZZ BASSIST RON

CARTER.

[ ♪♪ ]

>> AND THIS IS CLASSICAL

BASSIST GARY KARR.

BOTH MUSICIANS HAVE BROUGHT

THE BASS FROM THE BACKGROUND

TO PREEMINENT SOLO POSITIONS.

WE SPOKE WITH BOTH MEN ABOUT

PLAYING BASS AND LISTENED AS

THEY PERFORMED.

[ ♪♪ ]

>> IF THERE WEREN'T THESE

CONSERVATIVE ATTITUDES IN THE

CLASSICAL FIELD, I WOULD BE

ONE VERY POPULAR MUSICIAN.

BUT I DON'T PLAY THE VIOLIN,

WHICH IS A TRADITIONAL

INSTRUMENT.

THE BASS GOES BACK 400 YEARS.

AND IN 400 YEARS, I THINK THE

STRANGEST OF ALL THINGS IS THE

FACT THAT IT NEVER ATTRACTED

TALENTED PEOPLE.

IN THE 1940s, THE BIG JOKE WAS

THAT YOU CAN LEARN TO PLAY THE

DOUBLE BASS, YOU CAN GET INTO

THE JULIARD SCHOOL IF YOU CAN

MAKE IT THROUGH THE FRONT DOOR

WITHOUT HITTING THE INSTRUMENT

AGAINST THE FRAME.

THE ONE THING JAZZ HAS DONE

FOR THE DOUBLE BASS IS THE

INSTRUMENT HAS ALWAYS SORT OF

BEEN RELEGATED TO THE

BACKGROUND.

AND IN JAZZ, A LOT OF

ATTENTION IS BROUGHT TO THE

DOUBLE BASS PLAYER.

HE RECEIVES AWARDS.

PEOPLE LISTEN.

HE TAKES ON A SOLO.

OCCASIONALLY.

SO THE DOUBLE BASS IS NOT

NEARLY AS STRANGE AN

INSTRUMENT IN THE JAZZ

CIRCUMSTANCE AS IT IS IN THE

CLASSICAL CIRCUMSTANCE, IN THE

CLASSICAL, ORCHESTRA, FOR

INSTANCE, THEY'RE ALWAYS VERY

VISIBLE, THEY'RE THERE BUT NO

ONE EVER REALLY HEARS THEM,

NOT MUCH ATTENTION IS FOCUSED

ON THEM.

THE JAZZ BASS PLAYERS MADE THE

BASS PLAYER GO UP THIS MUCH IN

THE PAST FEW YEARS IN THE

TECHNIQUE ALONE, BUT THEY'RE

NOT AWARE OF IT, BECAUSE

THEY'VE UNAVAILED THEMSELVES

TO THIS ARENA, TO THIS

CLASSICAL MUSIC COMPETITION.

>> I THINK JAZZ IS A WAY OF

LIFE.

MORE THAN CLASSICAL.

YOU LIVE JAZZ.

JAZZ IS A VERY CREATIVE,

SPONTANEOUS TYPE OF

COMMUNICATION.

IN CLASSICAL, IT'S VERY

CREATIVE AND VERY SPONTANEOUS

BUT YOU'RE VERY MUCH AN

INTERPRETER.

AND, SO, YOU SING IN CLASSICAL

TO GET INTO OTHER PEOPLE'S

MINDS AND BE CREATIVE WITH

THAT.

>> BASICALLY WHEN I WAS

PLAYING JAZZ, WHEN I WAS A

CLASSICAL PLAYER, CLASSICAL

ENSEMBLES, I'D LIKE TO SAY IT

OCCURRED TO ME THAT -- BUT

THAT'S NOT REALLY THE FACT --

I WAS TOLD BY PEOPLE WHO

THOUGHT THAT MAJOR ORCHESTRAS,

AND BY BEING OBSERVANT, TOO,

YOU KNOW, THAT THE CLASSICAL

SITUATION THEN AS NOW ARE NOT,

WERE NOT RELATED TO HIGHER --

A GIFTED BLACK PLAYER, WHETHER

HE PLAYED BASS OR VIOLIN, IT

DIDN'T MATTER. AND THAT HASN'T CHANGED, BY

THE WAY.

[ ♪♪ ]

[ ♪♪ ]

>> THEY CERTAINLY HAVE THE

RIGHT STUFF.

IT'S HARD TO DESCRIBE, BUT YOU

CAN'T MISS IT.

NEXT WEEK ON WYLD RYCE, WE'LL

GET AN EXTRAORDINARY

PERSPECTIVE ON THE MINNESOTA

LANDSCAPE, SEE SOME FABULOUS

ORIENTAL ART, AND MEET FLUTIST

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