Jazz CD Reviews
Ron Carter, doublebass – Dear Miles, – Blue Note/EMI
Published on June 21, 2007
(Ron Carter, bass; Stephen Scott, piano; Payton Crossley, drums; Roger Squitero, percussion)
Carter may be the most-recorded bassist in history – I haven’t toted up his albums as a sideman vs. Ray Brown. He was the mainstay rhythm-keeper of the famous Miles Davis Quintet in the 60s and has kept plenty busy since he left that group in 1968 – right up to his present 70th birthday. He observes that he would have been offended if some label had asked him to do a Miles tribute album a decade ago, but now he felt ready. Several of the tunes in his quartet’s library came from Miles, and Carter was involved in the Four Generations of Miles and V.S.O.P. series of albums. Carter felt he could pay homage while simultaneously revealing the special personality of his own quartet.
The ten tracks encompass tunes from the 50s and 60s Davis repertory, some loosely-related tunes, and two originals by Carter. He likes the idea of a quartet of longtime collaborators stretching themselves in the re-envisioning of Miles’ music, and questions the practice of many producers in varying the sidemen from CD to CD to interest more record-buyers and improve sales. And there’s plenty of ammunition to be found for Carter’s attitude in this CD – it’s a virtuoso vehicle for his fantastic chops on the bass, a fresh trumpet-less take on Miles’ music, and get this: all ten tracks were first takes, and the entire recording session was over in one morning.
TrackList: 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.
– John Henry