The Detroit Jazz Festival, the world's largest free jazz festival, announced that legendary bassist, cellist, composer and native Detroiter Ron Carter will be its 2016 Artist-in-Residence. During his esteemed 50-year career, Carter has played on many of the most important jazz recordings with greats such as Miles Davis, McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea and Wayne Shorter. He has appeared on more than 2,000 albums, making him the most-recorded jazz bassist of all time, in addition to earning two Grammy Awards.
Carter, who has appeared at the Detroit Jazz Festival several times – including an acoustic performance with last year's Artist-in-Residence Pat Metheny, which was one of the highlights of the Festival – will orchestrate a variety of unique performances and collaborations that can only be found at this year's festival. Details on his performances will be unveiled in April at a luncheon in Detroit announcing the 37th Annual Detroit Jazz Festival lineup.
"I have been to many wonderful places in my life, but no matter where I go, Detroit will always be home. It has shaped who I am and has had a tremendous impact on my life and music,” said Carter. “It is an incredible honor to be an Artist-in-Residence from Detroit at one of the world's greatest festivals held in the heart of my hometown. I am thrilled to get the opportunity to become more involved with this world-class event and work with talented jazz students in a place that's so special to me."
As Artist-in-Residence, Carter will contribute to the Festival's continued efforts to support and grow jazz through education in Detroit and beyond. A lifelong educator himself, Carter will pull from his 18 years as a faculty member of The City College of New York's music department and participate in educational initiatives to nurture and develop young local talent in Metro Detroit.
"When you think of legendary double bassists, Ron Carter is a name that comes to mind very quickly. We are ecstatic he has agreed to be our ambassador this year, extending his lifelong connection to Detroit and years of commitment to this Festival," said Chris Collins, artistic director of the Detroit Jazz Festival. "His personality and music are iconic and greatly reflect our values at the Detroit Jazz Festival – artistry, expression and sharing the human experience through jazz."
Carter was born in Ferndale, Michigan, in 1937. He moved to Detroit when he was 10 years old and later attended Cass Technical High School. He earned a bachelor's degree from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, and his master's degree in double bass performance from the Manhattan School of Music in New York City in 1961.
Carter's prolific catalogue features records with many jazz, rock and blues greats including Tommy Flanagan, Gil Evans, Lena Horne, Bill Evans, B.B. King, the Kronos Quartet, Dexter Gordon, Wes Montgomery, Bobby Timmons and more. Carter spent much of the 1960s as a member of Miles Davis Quintet, which also featured pianist Herbie Hancock, saxophonist Wayne Shorter and drummer Tony Williams. He has toured the U.S. and Europe extensively.
Throughout his career, Carter has been 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. He was elected to the DownBeat Jazz Hall of Fame in 2012.
The 37th annual Detroit Jazz Festival will take place Sept. 2-5, 2016. The festival spans several city blocks in downtown Detroit – from Hart Plaza to Campus Martius – with four stages and more than 100 performances.
The official Artist-in-Residence announcement was made Monday night during a performance by Pianist and Composer, Randy Weston with the Wayne State University Big Band "Celebrating the Music of Randy Weston and Melba Liston" at the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center in Detroit.