The Ron Carter Nonet
(Dreyfus – 2003)
by John Thompson
Nine musicians, six stringed instruments, eight songs. That’s the lineup of legendary bassist Ron Carter’s “Eight Plus.” Recorded in 1990, the music here is exceptional. It’s a great blend of jazz and classical music. Playing jazz since the 1950’s and a Miles Davis Quintet member from 1963-68, Carter has certainly paid his dues. Usually, in a band setting, the bass player gets the least amount of being out in front. This is the first cd that I’ve heard where a bassist is this far out in front, and Carter is the man for the job. The musicians include Lewis Nash (d) and Stephen Scott (p), four cellists, a percussionist, and Leon Maleson (b).
“El Rompe Cabeza” varies time changes from 4/4 to 5/4.”A Closer Walk With Thee” is performed funky style (somewhere a church is having a fit), and Leon Russell’s “A Song For You” is covered. My favorite, “Eight,” makes reference to the jazz tune “Impressions.” All of Carter’s solos are fresh, as are the arrangements of the accompanying cellos, which add just the right mix for the classical sounds.
Play the bass? Enjoy the clinic. Love strings? Buy the cd. 4 stars.