Clarence Carter to perform at Joy of JazzPeter Feldman
Peter Feldman: Legendary musician Clarence Carter is no stranger to South Africa and has fond memories of the country.
He remembers being carried on the shoulders of fans through the airport arrivals hall during one visit.
The musician is now all set to return in August as part of the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz which takes place in Newtown from August 23 to 25.
Carter recalls: “I remember one of the times I came to Johannesburg in the ‘80s. When I stepped into the arrivals hall, there was a whole group of guys who grabbed me and put me up on their shoulders and they walked around the airport with me. I never forgot that! It was just marvellous. I’ve never had that happen to me.”
He will be one of the star attractions at the event which includes Grammy-Award winner Kurt Elling who has been hailed as the jazz male vocalist of his generation; trombone master Wycliffe Gordon; Grammy-winning guitarist Earl Klugh as well as an appearance by the world famous Duke Ellington Orchestra.
Carter is one of music’s longest serving performers having released his first album, This is Clarence Carter back in 1968.
But the spirit and the energy remain and, at the age of 75, he spends six months a year on the road performing.
“It’s been quite a while since I came out to South Africa,” he told me, his clear, well-modulated tones coming through the telephone wires, “but I do remember I had a fine time while there.”
His message to fans is that he wants them to have a good time: “It may be a cliché but be ready to clap your hands and stomp your feet.”
Talking about the concert, he said he’ll be hot on the guitar with his tried-and-tested backing band, and they will be performing a selection of popular tracks from his 40-odd year career.
“I Got Caught Making Love to Another Man’s Wife - I will be playing that, of course, and there is a song called Don’t Bother Me. But I am going to reach back and get some of the old ones, but then you know I’ve got quite a lot of new ones now that I’m going to play for you.”
His latest album, Sing Along With Clarence Carter, which reflects the kind of music for which Carter is known came out last year: “It’s a rather nice album I think and it kind of sounds like I always sound. I’ve got one strong number on it that I particularly like called I Wouldn’t Do That If I Were You and it sounds real good.”
He finds his inspiration in different places: “I might be in a restaurant and I’ll hear somebody say something that catches my ear. I was in a restaurant the other night and I heard a guy telling another girl, stop, don’t do that to me. And it stayed in my mind. I am in the studio right now putting a song together. I get a fixed phrase and then build a melody around it.”
After five decades in music, Carter still has passion, he says, and is driven to continue. “I have a song called I Ain’t Ready to Retire and in the song I say ‘I ain’t ready to retire and do what … if I retire what am I going to do, like if I retire I won’t be talking to you. I’ll keep going as long as people still enjoy my music and as long as my health is good. And my health is real good as long as I can get out on stage and have a good time!”
When relaxing away from music and touring, Carter is a big sports fan and has supported the Los Angeles Dodgers since 1947.
Asked what advice he would give someone wanting to do music as a career, Carter said it was difficult now because the music industry has changed so much.
“In America we don’t sell nearly as many CDs as we used to sell. We’re getting a lot more people into the business now than we used to so as a result it gets quite crowded. But I believe where there is a will there is a way. Even when I was coming along there were a lot of people that I went to get advice and they would tell me that I would have to find my own thing. But if you don’t know what your own thing is you have to search long enough until you find it.”
Asked whether he thought reality shows like American Idol and X Factor were good for the industry, Carter said: “It’s a good thing in a way and, in a way, it’s not. When you have talent shows like that you’re only going to pick one winner. Think about how many people have performed and are never going to be picked. But it’s interesting to note that the second placed contestant sometimes turns out to be a bigger star than the winner.”
Carter’s latest album is Sing Along With Clarence Carter and many of the tracks are bound to find their way onto his show.
Clarence Carter performs at the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz on Friday August 24 and Saturday August 25.
Feldman has been a journalist and arts critic for over 45 years and served on The Star in various capacities for 35 years, ending up as a specialist writer on films, music and theatre. During that time he travelled extensively on assignments and interviewed many international film and pop stars, both in South Africa and overseas. He also covered some of South Africa's biggest film and musical events. He is active in the freelance field and his work over the past 12 years has appeared in a variety of South African newspapers and magazines. He writes regularly for Artslink.co.za, The Citizen, South African Jewish Report, The Sunday Independent and is a contributor to "Eat Out" Magazine. He also contributes movie reviews on Mondays to The Gordon Hoffman Easy Morning Show on 1485 Radio Today (www.1485.org.za) and has worked on TV in his specialist capacity. Over the years Feldman has been the recipient of several awards for his contribution to music journalism and the SA record industry. He wrote lyrics for some top artists, including Sipho Mabuse, and had a hit disco single, "Video Games," which was released in 1988. After retiring from The Star in April, 1999, Feldman joined the PR and events management company, Dlamini Weil Communications, where he currently works as an entertainment and media consultant.
Standard Bank Joy of Jazz
Dates: Thursday, 22nd August 2013 - Saturday, 24th August 2013