Friday, August 3, 2007

Request: Ron Carter - Dear Miles,

I had a request for a review of this album -- here it is:

Ron Carter: Dear Miles,

This album is Carter’s rumination on his days playing with the Miles Davis Quintet in the 1960’s. From one of the most respected and prolific jazz bassists alive today, we are treated to a very personal tribute to an era, a great musician, and a friend.

Many of the songs here are among those most closely associated with Miles – Seven Steps to Heaven, Stella by Starlight, and My Funny Valentine. The arrangements are not radical reinterpretations of the originals, and neither are they straight copies. Instead it’s a loving tribute to the music. Two originals expand the range of the album to fit Miles’ personality, Cut and Paste on the hot end and 595 on the cool. As Time Goes By also feels appropriate here to set the mood.

Stephen Scott’s assured piano work is the foreground of this ensemble, and he is a compelling soloist. Roger Suitero’s percussion adds occasional accents such as bongos and rainsticks to Carter’s bass, Scott’s piano, and Payton Crossley’s drums. However, the core of this unit is not a piano trio. It’s a quartet with one of the members missing. They’ve left enough space in the music to imagine what Miles would have played, if he happened to drop by.

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