Music Memory – Ron Carter

Music Memory is sponsored by the Alzheimer Society of Toronto, offering the “Music For Memory Project”: a program based on the effects of music and stimulation on people with dementia, by providing them with iPods containing personalized music. For more information, visit

This week we hear from American Jazz double bassist Ron Carter.

“The Miles Davis Group, with George Coleman, Herbie Hancock, and Tony Williams – we were playing our first concert in Europe, and the song was ‘Stella by Starlight.’

After Miles’ solo, he wandered around to the back of the band stand (near Tony and myself). He was listening very intently to what the rhythm section was playing behind the sax solo of George Coleman. Somewhere near the end of George’s solo, there is a G minor 7 chord.

The trio would take us back to the top, and I played a B natural at the beginning of the next chorus.

Miles shook his horn, as if to throw that note away … but as the group continued to finish that chorus, Miles asked me, “What was the note?”

My answer: B natural – the third of that chord, and I cannot play AND talk at the same time, so don’t ask me again.

During my five years in the band, he never asked me another question while I were playing.”