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Ron Carter: Finding The Right Notes


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Ron Carter: Finding The Right Notes
On October 21st 2022, America's PBS channel screened a two-hour documentary about the life and work of Ron Carter titled Finding The Right Notes. This seventy-three minute CD is the soundtrack. It is a beauty, a roll-around-in feast of Carter's inimitable, sumptuous bass.

The ten tracks, recorded between 2014 and 2021 in Europe and America, has Carter in situations ranging from duos to a big band, playing jazz standards, songs from the Great American Songbook and his own compositions. One track was recorded at the Newport Jazz Festival, three at the WDR studio in Cologne, two in European concert halls, and—in New York—two at the Blue Note, one at the Harlem Jazz Museum, and one at the Power Station studio.

If all this sounds like a mish mash, it absolutely is not. The album is cohesive, bound together by Carter's bass, which is featured in all the arrangements, including those with the WDR big band, and by the nature of the tunes which, a couple of velvety swingers aside, are intimate and reflective. None of the material has previously been released and much of it was recorded specially for the documentary. Only one track does not quite come off, Ann Ronell's "Willow Weep For Me," a jam with fellow bassist Christian McBride at the Harlem Jazz Museum. Somehow a bit too much, it may have worked better on screen.

The other nine tracks are unalloyed delights. There are three with the big band, all Carter originals: "Receipt, Please," "Blues For D.P." and "Doom Mood" (a palindrome rather than an exercise in gloom). Two are with a trio featuring guitarist Russell Malone and pianist Donald Vega: Carter's exquisite "A Nice Song" and Fletcher Henderson's swinging "Soft Winds." One is a duet with guitarist Bill Frisell: George Gershwin's "My Man's Gone Now." One is a trio with Malone and bassist Stanley Clarke: Milt Jackson's "Bag's Groove." One is with a quartet with pianist Renee Rosnes, tenor saxophonist Jimmy Greene and drummer Payton Crossley: Miles Davis' "Flamenco Sketches" (check the YouTube below).

The disc closes with an impromptu swing through Cliff Burwell's "Sweet Lorraine" with pianist Jon Batiste. Hopefully, the movie will reach European screens shortly.

Track Listing

Receipt Please; Soft Winds; Flamenco Sketches; Bags Groove; Willow Weep For Me; Blues For D.P.; Doom Mood; My Man’s Gone Now; A Nice Song; Sweet Lorraine.


Additional Instrumentation

WDR Big Band (1, 6, 7); Russell Malone: guitar (2, 4, 9); Donald Vega: piano (2, 9); Renee Rosnes: piano (3); Jimmy Greene: tenor saxophone (3); Payton Crossley: drums (3); Stanley Clarke: bass (4); Christian McBride: bass (5); Bill Frisell: guitar (8); Jon Batiste: piano (10).

Album information

Title: Finding The Right Notes | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: In + Out Records


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