all of whom, like Carter, went on to create great things. Carter also used the opportunity afforded by the Davis boost to become something of a super side sideman, appearing on hundreds of albums led by an array of fellow artists, as well as dozens of his own, including the outstanding small group efforts Golden Striker, (Blue Note Records, 2003), and Dear Miles (EMI, 2006).
Carter has never led a big band outing, until now. With charts by esteemed arranger Robert M. Freedman, Carter leads a seventeen-piece ensemble through a set of jazz standards on Ron Carter's Great Big Band, from the much-covered Duke Ellington
Carter put out an excellent small group outing this millennium, When Skies Are Grey (Blue Note Records, 2001). The cover arta photo of a grey clad, regal-looking Carter gazing over a drab cityscape at overcast skieshad a limited color spectrum, and the music leaned toward the serious side, as much of the classically-trained Carter's art does, but Ron Carter's Great Big Band is a bright, colorful experience, from the rainbow-ish cover art and the dancing sparkle of W.C. Handy
, along with Carteris as solid as they come. Carter's bass rides higher in the mix than is normally heard on a large ensemble set---a big, warm, inexorable heartbeat inside the flash and cool washes of brass and reeds.
"Footprints," penned by Carter's former Davis cohort, Wayne Shorter, and included on the saxophonist's Adams' Apple (Blue Note, 1966) as well as Davis' Miles Smiles (Columbia, 1967)on which Carter played maintains its ominous mood here, with splashier harmonics afforded from the multiple horns, while John Lewis
and his outstanding Big Band (Verve, 1997), Carter has taken his first shot at leading a large group later in his career, and he's produced a gem with Ron Carter's Great Big Band.
Track Listing: Caravan; The Eternal Triangle; Pork Chop; Opus 1.5 (Theme for C.B.); Con Alma; Sail Away; Opus 1; Sweet Emma; Saint Louis Blues; Line for Lyons; Footprints; The Golden Striker; Loose Change.
Personnel: Robert M. Freedman: arranger and musical director; John Dodgion: alto and soprano saxophones; Steve Wilson: alto saxophone; Wayne Escoffery: tenor saxophone; Scott Robinson: tenor saxophone; Jay Brandford: baritone saxophone; Charles Pillow: English horn; Jason Jackson: trombone; Steve Davis: trombone; James Burton III: trombone; Douglas Purviance: bass trombone; Tony Kadleck: trumpet, flugelhorn; Greg Gisbert: trumpet, fluglehorn; Jon Owens: trumpet, fluglehorn; Alex Norris: trumpet, flugelhorn; Ron Carter: bass; Mulgrew Miller: piano; Lewis Nash: drums.