A release that is bursting with energy and anchored in a strong expressive foundation

Masters Legacy Series Volume 2 Emmet Cohen Featuring Ron Carter with Evan Sherman CellarLive CL 062917 76:11****:

( Emmet Cohen  piano; Ron Carter – acoustic bass; Evan Sherman – drums)

Impresario and record label owner Cory Weeds, may have captured lightning in a bottle when he proposed to the dazzling young pianist Emmet Cohen to join the CellarLive label to lead the introduction of the Masters Legacy Series. Given the success of the first offering that featured the legendary drummer Jimmy Cobb, this follow-up release with the great bassist and composer Ron Carter is sure to establish these albums as essential listening experiences.

It has been reported that Ron Carter has appeared on more albums than any other jazz bassist, and the list of those jazz greats with whom he has recorded spans decades and musical styles. Yet over the years there has not been any diminishment in his round muscular tone, and prodigious technique. All these Carter characteristics are fully evident on the opening track, Cole Porter’s “All Of You” which was part of the Miles Davis Quintet repetoire on which Carter was prominent player in the 1964 release My Funny Valentine – Miles Davis In Concert.  In this rendition, driven by scintillating brush work from Evan Sherman, Cohen delivers vigorous piano maneuvers, all the while Carter’s bass is in full big tone mode.

Switching musical eras from modern jazz to swing, the trio launches into Sy Oliver’s “Opus One” which was a feature of the Tommy Dorsey band. As captured by Cohen and Carter, the sensibilities are evidenced by the swinging unhurried pace of the number, with Carter’s bass in full bodied attack. Drummer Sherman delivers a brief, but svelte, drum break towards the end of the number.

What follows is a set of numbers under the rubric Salute to Cedar dedicated to the late Cedar Walton with his compositions “Hindsight”, “Holy Land”, “Dear Ruth” and a Ron Carter number “It’s About Time”. These pieces give this emotive trio the time and space to ruminate into the nooks and crannies, time signatures, and character that tell a series of musical stories that have a songbook quality.

On July 24, 1938, Artie Shaw & His Orchestra recorded “Any Old Time” with a vocal by Billie Holiday,  which turned out to be the only vocal she ever laid down while with the band. The group makes no attempt to give it the Shaw swing treatment , but rather a more contemplative interpretation to start off. Then Carter takes a lengthy up front bass initiative which leads into a propulsive exposition for several choruses, before a slow dissolve.

This session was recorded live at the Pyatt Hall, Vancouver B.C. on July 29, 2017, as part of the TD Canada Trust Vancouver International Jazz Festival and fittingly closes with another Miles Davis/Ron Carter associated number written by Victor Feldman entitled “Joshua”. This arrangement is a whirring engine, and a contemporary expedition of time and tempo, lead by Carter’s authoritative bass and Cohen’s exuberant piano playing.

TrackList: All Of You; Opus One; Salute To Cedar : Hindsight, Holy Land, Dear Ruth, It’s About Time; Any Old Time; Hatzi Kaddish-Intro; Hatzi Kaddish; Light Blue; Ron Carter Speaks; Joshua

—Pierre Giroux