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Sometimes knowing the whole story can enhance the appreciation of a work of art. In the case of When Skies Are Grey..., the death of Carter's wife around the same time as the recording session helped make the disc a tangible example of the human spirit overcoming adversity. Far from the gloomy state that its title might suggest, this record could arguably be one of the bassist's finest efforts to date, and that's saying something considering that his capacious catalog includes more than fifty albums as a leader.
Part of Carter's inner sanctum for a few years now, much of the creative weight and harmonic support falls on the shoulders of pianist Stephen Scott and he demonstrates a maturity level and poise that is rare among today's younger musicians. Delicate and all pretty on "Besame Mucho," Scott can then touch a nerve with a bluesy lick or two as he does on a completely transformed "Cubano Chant." Providing the extra flavorings to this Latin-tinged concoction, percussionist Steve Kroon keeps the shakers and bongos percolating underneath, while drummer Harvey Mason's restrained support maintains a cool and tranquil ambiance.
Track Listing: Loose Change, Besame Mucho, Caminando, Que Pasa, Corcovado, Cubano Chant, Mi Tiempo.
Personnel: Ron Carter: bass; Stephen Scott: piano; Harvey Mason: drums; Steve Kroon: percussion.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.