317

Ron Carter: Parade

Derek Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
The decade of the 70s was a time of artistic uncertainty in jazz. Faced with a dwindling audience many musicians buckled under to commercial pressures and diluted their sounds to fit into the frameworks of popular trends. While this is nothing new in music, there was something particularly bromidic about 70s pop and remaining economically viable often meant playing music that catered to broader audiences and incorporated heavy arrangements and high production values. Ron Carter was just one of many top-flight jazz musicians who opted to travel this path of least resistance. Be forewarned, the album at hand comes from this period in the master bassist’s career.

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.


Title: Parade | Year Released: 2000


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard CD/LP/Track Review Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio CD/LP/Track Review Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Moment Frozen CD/LP/Track Review Moment Frozen
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Minor Step CD/LP/Track Review Minor Step
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 19, 2017
Read A Meeting Of Spirits CD/LP/Track Review A Meeting Of Spirits
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 18, 2017
Read First Light CD/LP/Track Review First Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 18, 2017
Read "Anthology - Bigger Than Life" CD/LP/Track Review Anthology - Bigger Than Life
by Doug Collette
Published: December 24, 2016
Read "After The Rain" CD/LP/Track Review After The Rain
by Duncan Heining
Published: August 28, 2017
Read "Hakos Trios" CD/LP/Track Review Hakos Trios
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 27, 2017
Read "I Just Did Say Something" CD/LP/Track Review I Just Did Say Something
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 27, 2016
Read "Harmonies" CD/LP/Track Review Harmonies
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 10, 2017
Read "Because I Love You" CD/LP/Track Review Because I Love You
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 12, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.