Bristol, England – A little more than three years ago, Chris Carr had just completed a concert series with the London Symphony Orchestra.
His first show, The Final Countdown, drew nearly 2,000 people.
His second show, Last Chance to Shine, drew just over 1,000.
And his third show, No One Else, drew around 2,200 people.
But Carr’s career has been marked by one unexpected, albeit crucial, shift: he’s been joined by two of the world’s top jazz pianist-coaches.
Both are the first black men to have played with the same orchestra.
They are, in fact, the first white men to play together at the same concert.
They are, Carr told me, “the only black men who’ve played together in a solo piano concert.
In the years since then, Carr and his partners have performed with and against the likes of the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, and The Doors, as well as jazz legends such as Duke Ellington, Buddy Guy, and Buddy Rich.
They have also played in concert against the Rolling Thunder, the Kinks, and the Dead Weather.
And they’ve been part of a wave of composers and performers in the UK who have made the leap from soloists to orchestra members.
The two men have become the first musicians from the Black Country to play with the world-renowned Orchestra of the Black Philharmonic.
And their work has become an anthem for jazz musicians across the world.
When I asked Carr about his journey from soloist to orchestra member, he didn’t hesitate.
“I started off playing with the orchestra,” he said.
Bristol has a long history of black musicians. “
It’s been an amazing journey.”
Bristol has a long history of black musicians.
The town is home to some of the largest black populations in the country, and a string of musicians have been born and died there, including George Jackson and the Black Panthers.
But as Carr pointed out, the musicianship has always been a struggle.
“There’s no doubt that the black musicianship is a struggle,” Carr said.
So, where does the legacy of black jazz come from?””
And that’s where we’re coming from.”
So, where does the legacy of black jazz come from?
“It’s a long story,” Carr explained.
“This is where we are, and it’s where I’m coming from. “
“Now, I’m proud to be part of this extraordinary orchestra that has made such a huge difference for African-Americans in the world.””
Bastien Bourg/Getty Images”
Now, I’m proud to be part of this extraordinary orchestra that has made such a huge difference for African-Americans in the world.”
Bastien Bourg/Getty Images