With his tribute album to Miles Davis, bassist Ron Carter waxes nostalgic about the five years that he spent with the trumpeter's straight-ahead quintet, and about the worldwide mentoring that Davis provided for years afterward. Carter, who just turned seventy, remains one of the most recorded jazz bassists in history. From his start with Eric Dolphy and Chico Hamilton in 1959 through his stints with Davis, his tours as leader of his own bands and the numerous encounters that he's taken up with likeminded musicians, Carter has carved his niche in jazz history. Both as an advanced educator and as performer, he's always represented the best in quality for jazz's mainstream.
Carter's quartet relies on a strong bass foundation for its rhythmic pride as well as a large portion of its lyrical presence. With "Stella by Starlight, the bassist takes the lead right from the start and delivers a superb interpretation all the way through to its finish. Resonating with a rich, full tone unlike other musical instruments, the big double bass brings pleasure. That sound captures one's heart and simply won't let go. Personal preferences aside, the double bass works magic for the soul when in the hands of a virtuoso such as Carter.
With pianist Stephen Scott and a solid percussion tandem alongside, the quartet provides a balanced session. Everybody solos. Carter and Scott deliver eloquent melodies, while everyone pitches in to maintain rhythmic momentum and variety. The program includes two original compositions by the bassist; however, those and the other selections capture memories of Miles accurately. Pure, straight-ahead jazz will live forever as long as it's cultivated in this manner.
Track Listing: Gone; Seven Steps to Heaven; My Funny Valentine; Bags' Groove; Someday My Prince Will Come; Cut and Paste; Stella by Starlight; As Time Goes By; Bye Bye Blackbird; 595.
Personnel: Ron Carter: double bass; Stephen Scott: piano; Payton Crossley: drums; Roger Squitero: percussion.
The first jazz record I received
as a visiting gift from my
Japanese uncle at his
international division of
Toshiba EMI Tokyo was a
sample copy of Miles Davis'
Bitches Brew. A game
changer redirecting my
browsing habits and collection.