“Among the things often said of Ron Carter — that he’s one of the most influential and widely recorded bassists in history, a distinguished professor of music, a multiple Grammy winner and a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master — there’s one that may not be said often enough. The man knows how to wear a suit.
Mr. Carter, 79, recently confirmed this fact in the holiday issue of GQ Style, appearing in a fashion spread along with peers like the pianists McCoy Tyner, 78, and Herbie Hancock, 76. The images, dramatic and au courant, underscore a long-held truth that bears repeating: In jazz, it’s standard practice not only to survive but to thrive, with style, in the late phases of a career. In many cases it’s possible to access deeper currents of poise and insight, creating work that couldn’t have happened without such a wealth of experience.
This year was especially full of vital, often magisterial statements by jazz musicians of a certain age. One of the finest jazz albums of 2016 was “The Declaration of Independence,” a culmination and an advance for the drummer Andrew Cyrille, who is now 77. The most transfixing performance I saw was by one of Mr. Cyrille’s former associates, the 87-year-old pianist and free-jazz lodestar Cecil Taylor, as part of his residency at the Whitney Museum of American Art.“