Passings: Dave Carpenter, Ronnie Matthews


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Last week, jazz lost two journeyman artists valued for their dependability, versatility and swing. On the west coast, bassist Dave Carpenter died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of forty-eight. Most recently, Carpenter had been in drummer Peter Erskine's trio, which also included pianist Alan Pasqua. A veteran of the Buddy Rich, Woody Herman, Maynard Ferguson and Bill Holman big bands, he also worked with Bill Perkins, Jack Nimitz, Al Jarreau, Herb Geller, Bill Cunliffe, Jan Lundgren, Terry Gibbs, Buddy DeFranco and Richard Stoltzman, to name a few. In as great demand in Los Angeles studios as he was in clubs, Carpenter has a list of recording credits as long as both of your arms. To see the list and hear brief samples, go here.

On Saturday, pianist Ronnie Matthews died in New York of pancreatic cancer. He was seventy-two. Matthews toured and recorded extensively with Max Roach, Freddie Hubbard, Roy Haynes, Dexter Gordon, Louis Hayes, and Woody Shaw. He had long associations with tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin, drummer T. S. Monk, and trumpeter Roy Hargrove. See and hear him in this video clip of Griffin's quartet. Ignore the superfluous list of personnel from YouTube; the rhythm section is Matthews, drummer Kenny Washington and bassist Ray Drummond. The locale is the Village Vanguard in New York, not somewhere in Europe. Otherwise, YouTube got it right. Due to the site's ten-minute limit, the performance fades away before it ends, but it provides a generous idea of Matthews' skill as an accompanist and a soloist.

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This story appears courtesy of Rifftides by Doug Ramsey.
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