Ron Carter: Parade
Revolving around a core quartet of Carter, Corea, Henderson and Williams five of the six compositions also incorporate a seven-piece horn section. The opening title track floats in on feathery tropical theme from the horns before Carter’s piccolo bass limbers up for a lengthy percolating solo. Henderson follows, manipulating the melody with a welcome roughness that counteracts some of the sheen of the backing horn harmonies. Corea and Williams drop out on the arrangement of “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child” leaving Carter to converse freely with the horns. But while the underlying sadness of the spiritual is retained in the reading, the light horn shadings subtract significantly from the emotional weight. Carter’s bass work is typically industrious almost to the point of fault. “Tinderbox” treads dangerously close to game show theme territory bubbling along on a bouncing beat and helium-light horns, though Henderson turns thing around with a smoking solo. But even with the saxophonist’s fiery turn the tune still ends up being a casualty of ostentatious over arrangement. With the up-tempo “Gypsy” Carter finally gets it right paring things down to a lean, mean quartet size and concentrating on a tightly focused blues-inflected groove. Unfortunately things revert back to the status quo on the closing “G.J.T.” as the group again gets mired in maudlin excess. While this disc as a whole doesn’t muster a passing grade there are still inspired moments sprinkled throughout (thanks mainly to Henderson) that rescue it from being purely pedestrian.
Track Listing: Parade/ A Theme In 3/4/ Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child/ Tinderbox/ Gypsy/ G.J.T.
Personnel: Ron Carter- bass; piccolo bass; Joe Henderson; Chick Corea; Tony Williams- drums; John Faddis, Joe Shepley, John Frosk- trumpets, flugelhorns; Urbie Green- trombone; Tom Malone- bass trombone; Jerry Dodgion- flute, clarinet, alto saxophone; Frank Wess- flute, clarinet, tenor saxophone. Recorded: March 1979, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.
Record Label: Fantasy Jazz