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Bass Legend 

by Sheri Boggs

The Lost Horse Writers Conference -- taking place on the shores of Lake Pend Oreille this weekend -- would be enough of a draw merely on its own. The facilitators include the likes of Rick Bass (Winter, The Watch, Colter), Mary Clearman Blew (Bone Deep in Landscape, All But the Waltz) and Quincy Troupe (poet and performer, author of Choruses and Weather Reports). Attendees are taking part in intensive workshops all weekend long. But just as registration was closing for the conference, the planners landed jazz bass legend Ron Carter, who will be performing -- along with the writers of the conference -- at the Panida this Saturday night.

The miraculous good fortune of being able to host a rare appearance by such a venerable and accomplished musician is not lost on Christine Holbert, founder of Lost Horse Press and its namesake writers' conference. "Ron Carter was the bassist for Miles Davis," explains Holbert, laying out the importance of one's network of connections. "Quincy Troupe worked with Miles and Ron on Miles's autobiography and then went on to write the book Miles and Me. Quincy was the connection to getting Ron Carter, who isn't touring anywhere else on the West Coast."

"Legends of the Northwest," as the concert is being called, is open to the public and will offer a vivid fusion of the visual, literary and performing arts. Carter will perform with old friend Quincy Troupe, and then will take part in his "favorite milieu," the jazz trio, along with his sidemen pianist Brent Edstrom and drummer Daniel Cox. The "legends of the Northwest" part comes in with a surprising and collaborative merging of music (classical guitarist Leon Atkinson and bassist Glen Moore) and the spoken word (selected writers, including Bass, Clearman Blew, James Grabill, Chris Howell and others).

A collection of "artist books" by acclaimed regional visual artists Evelyn Sooter (represented by Sandpoint's Chris Kraisler Gallery), Lorna Obermayr and Morse Clary will be on view in the lobby, and an enormous painting by Stephen Schultz (also of the Chris Kraisler Gallery) will reside onstage.

"It's ten feet by ten feet and it's of four running horses," says Holbert. "It's absolutely stunning and really perfect for this event."

In addition to his five-year tenure with Miles Davis, Carter has worked with some of the greatest names in the business, including Lena Horne, B.B. King, the Kronos Quartet, Herbie Hancock and Aretha Franklin. He has more than 3,000 albums to his credit and has won two Grammys as well as the honor of being named Most Valuable Player by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. He wrote "Call Sheet Blues" for the film 'Round Midnight (in which he also acted) and has composed music for PBS film projects in addition to writing several books, Writing a Jazz Bass Line and The Music of Ron Carter. He is widely respected as an academic, having taught at a number of colleges and universities before occupying his current position as Distinguished Professor of Music at the City College of New York.

Publication date: 05/01/03

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