MIKE CARR, the younger brother of the late trumpeter Ian Carr, has passed away on Friday 22 September at the age of 79. The news came from Lance Liddle’s Bebop Spoken Here site (LINK). Mike Carr’s organ playing was a regular fixture at Ronnie Scott’s. This tribute is from Walter Houser, who acted as legal counsel to Ronnie Scott’s club for several decades. Wally writes:
Mike and I were friends for more than 50 years.
His jazz career is well known.
He was born in South Shields and moved to London in the early 1960s His first major jazz group in the north east was the MC5 with his brother Ian on trumpet, Gary Cox on tenor. Malcolm Cecil on bass and Ronnie Stephenson on drums. They were hard boppers and the band was outstanding
After he moved to London Mike took up the organ – Hammond B3 to be precise. He ultimately owned a large number of them.
He became for me (and for others) simply the best jazz organist in the world. His solos were always note perfect compositions more informed by Hank Mobley or Blue Mitchell than Jimmy Smith. He also exploited all the possibilities of the instrument. Including the bass pedals which he really made swing.
For a while he was part of the Ronnie Scott Trio. He also had a duo with Tony Crombie and later a trio with Peter King and Bobby Gien on drums who was replaced by Kenny Clare. My fondest memory of Mike at his imperious best was when this trio played Sax No End. It was a big band piece re-arranged for trio by Peter King . Superb.
Mike was part of or led many groups. Too many to list
His personal life became rather sad after the desertion by and subsequent death of his wife left him to care for a son and a disabled daughter . In fact he gave up the possibility of a glittering international career to care for his daughter helped greatly by his son Robert
Mike was a keen tennis player and in the seventies he and I would play two or three times a month. He always beat me
In 2011 came the first signs of dementia. He and I spoke on the phone until about 2014 when that horrible condition made it impossible. He was a really good man with endless infectious enthusiasm for music.
Mike Rest in peace