Dave Carpenter Remembered
Over the past year or more, he found a new passion in art and became a knowledgeable collector. I will forever regret not taking him up on his offer to take me antiquing at his usual haunts, thrift shops and yard sales... not because of the missed opportunity to find a treasure but because of the missed opportunity to hang with the "treasure."
Jo-Ann and Charlie O: Just wanted to give you our remembrances of Dave. Whenever he played at Charlie O's, Dave would comment "I just love playing here, it's like coming home." Also, when we would hire Dave for a gig, all of the other musicians in the group for that performance would comment how great it was to have Dave on the gig with them because he was such an accomplished player.
He was very humble about his abilities as well. Dave had been performing here quite a bit on weekends, subbing for John Heard and quickly became a favorite with the customers and staff. Dave also performed here on other nights with Jack Sheldon, Doug Webb, and many others. Everyone loved Dave and he will be missed a great deal.
Bennie Maupin: Dave was one of the most talented musicians I've had the pleasure of working with. A quartet put together by drummer Harvey Mason featured Dave, John Beasley and myself. We played two incredible nights in London at the Jazz Cafe and one outstanding concert at the North Sea Festival. Every step of the way, Dave's bass playing captured everybody. On and off the stage. A totally musical experience that will live in my heart forever. He was a musical giant.
Jack Sheldon: Dave worked a lot in my quartet. He was a very upbeat character, a great bassist. Very modern, he played great changes, great solos. He was a pleasure to work with. Dave was a real comedy guy toohe had a great sense of humor. A great dancer and a fun dresser. I'll miss having him in the band. I will miss him.
Dick McGarvin: You're right about there not being much info out there on Dave CarpenterI don't recall ever even seeing an article about him in the print magazines. Surprising, considering his credits and the fact that he's been one of the busiest, most in-demand bass players of the past three decades. Maybe it's because it hasn't all been jazz. If you haven't already, check his recording credits at allmusic.com Remarkable. From Woody Herman to Harvey Mason, Terry Gibbs to Julie Kelly, Herb Geller to Bill Cunliffe, it was amazing how often Dave's name would appear as a sideman on the recordings I played on the radio. He was a wonderful player. What a loss.
Alex Isles: Carp was very special in so many ways. He was a very special player. He seemed to be every drummer's favorite bassist... Vinnie C., Peter E., Alex Acuna, Buddy Rich, on and on. He was such a great listener. He complemented every musical situation he was ever a part of.
I first met Carp when we both joined Maynard's band on tour in 1986. He had just gotten off of Buddy's band, Buddy really loved Carp. Carp always said it was easy to play with Buddy if you never took your eye off his ride cymbal!!
One of my fondest memories of Carp was listening to him, drummer Dave Miller (who is also no longer with us!), Rick Margitza and/or Tim Ries playing tunes before our soundchecks. Usually just a trio setting. Just incredible... never a wasted note.
Dave was also a special human. He treated everyone and every situation very fairly. He had wide tastes in music and more recently art. He had become quite a successful self-educated art collector. He had begun to amass quite a collection in the last couple of years. He was one of those guys who could pick through an estate or garage sale and walk away with something EXTREMELY rare.
He did not tolerate BS of any kind. With selfless determination, he would aggressively "go to the mat" for the whole band if the bosses were not taking care of biz. There is a story about him doing just that on that movie, Sideways. The way I heard the story, there was some tune they wanted to record for like the umpteenth time and Carp said something to the effect of... "No ****'ing way. We're done with this one." He put music first... always.
Tonight, I feel fortunate that Carp had played the last gig Bill Reichenbach and I did with our quintet a couple months ago. He really pulled the band in all kinds of directions that night. He had a unique assortment of talents you can't even really describe in words. Things that went WAY beyond chops or skill or even musicality itself. But you knew what these things were when you played with him.
He was also capable of forming some of the most melodic solos I have ever heardon any instrument.
We all really miss him. It's all anyone has been talking about the last couple days at rehearsals and gigs around town. Great Carp stories will no doubt be floating around over the next few days/weeks. If you are not familiar with this guy, do yourself a favor and check out anything Carp ever recorded with Alan Pasqua and Peter Erskine. Always breathtaking.