Friday, April 1, 2016

Vinyl Reissue of the Month - "Ron Carter: All Blues"

Vinyl Reissue of the Month
Ron Carter: "All Blues" (CTI/Pure Pleasure) 1974/2016

***** (musical performance)
**** (recording & mix, new pressing)

Reissue Date: March 24, 2016
Distributed by Speakers Corner

Produced by Creed Taylor
Recorded (October 24, 1973) & Mixed by Rudy Van Gelder @ Van Gelder Studio (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, USA)
180gram vinyl Pressed by Pallas (Germany)
Mastered by Ray Staff @ AIR Mastering
Audiophile Limited Issue
Cover Photo: Alen MacWeeney
Album Desugn: Bob Ciano

Featuring: Ron Carter (acoustic bass & piccolo bass), Roland Hanna (acoustic piano), Richard Tee (Fender Rhodes electric piano on track A3), Billy Cobham (drums) & Joe Henderson (tenor sax)

Released in early 1974, but recorded in a single day session on October 24, 1973, apparently with no out-takes, "All Blues," Ron Carter's second solo album for CTI is being reissued on an audiophile vinyl by Pure Pleasure Records, and licensed through Sony Music, who handles the rights to the CTI catalog from 1970 to 1979.

Ron, heard on both acoustic & piccolo basses, leads an impeccable quartet with Roland Hanna (acoustic piano), Billy Cobham (drums, plus tambourine on "117 Special" only) and Joe Henderson's glorious tenor sax, with Richard Tee (Fender Rhodes) guesting on the lightly funky "117 Special."

Top tracks: "Light Blue" (actually, a haunting ballad that fits like a glove for Hanna's romantic Chopinesque style), "Rufus," Miles Davis' "All Blues" and Matt Dennis/Tom Adair's standard "Will You Still Be Mine," (originally a hit for the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra in 1941, with vocalist Connie Haines) and here turned into solo number for the leader. Ron Carter was voted Bassist of the Year in Downbeat’s Readers’ Poll in 1973, 1974 and 1975, highlighting his work with CTI.

It's also interesting the note the low-profile concept of the cover conceived by CTI's art director Bob Ciano for this album, in perfect sync with the mainstream jazz mood of its content, using a discreet pic by master photographer Alen MacWeeney in the front cover, instead of the usual Pete Turner's exuberant shots. And, curiously, the liner photo (by Dean Brown) doesn't comes from the recording session, but from a live concert performed by Ron as a member of the CTI All Stars some months earlier.

CTI's expert Doug Payne wrote a beautiful text about this reissue:

"Bassist Ron Carter had long been Creed Taylor’s first-choice bassist on record dates stretching as far back to the classic Gil Evans recording Out of the Cool in 1960. Carter was the first bass choice for many Creed Taylor productions throughout the 1960s for the Impulse, Verve, MGM and A&M/CTI labels, even while the bassist was recording and touring as part of the Miles Davis Quintet. And it was Ron Carter’s dulcet tones and swinging accompaniment on the double bass that drove nearly every CTI album since 1970 into the overdrive that its soloists are often given sole credit for.

Surprisingly, though, Ron Carter’s second CTI recording, All Blues, fell well below the radar. It was hardly noticed when it was first issued in early 1974 (his 1973 CTI debut, Blues Farm, which was hardly a hit, still remains better known). Interestingly, it’s probably among the best of the albums the bassist waxed for the CTI label between 1973 and 1976. This is due in no small measure to the commanding presence of tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson on “A Feeling,” “117 Special,” “Rufus” and “All Blues.” Carter here also solidifies a simpatico musical kinship with pianist Roland Hanna, who he’d first played with on a European tour in 1969. Hanna is especially featured on the florid trio feature, “Light Blue” (not the Monk piece), as well as Carter’s bop-y “Rufus” (not the Archie Shepp piece). Not surprisingly, Ron Carter dominates the proceedings, with his especially distinctive bass helming any number of attractive solo features (not to mention the overdubbed bass “solo” of “Will You Be Mine”)." ~ Doug Payne/Jazzonline
"One of bassist Ron Carter's better albums as a leader, this CTI LP features a very compact quartet comprised of tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson, pianist Roland Hanna (keyboardist Richard Tee sits in on one number), drummer Billy Cobham and Carter. All of the music (even the ballad "Will You Still Be Mine?") has a blues feeling although several are not really blues. However, the quality of the solos is high, and this date lives up to one's expectations." ~ Scott Yanow/AMG

"Ron Carter's "All Blues" is one of the greatest recordings of the '70s and a perfect introduction to jazz for those who don't know it, or don't think they would want to. The musicianship is flawless, the recording quality is tops, and the music performed on a single afternoon in October 1973 by Joe Henderson, Billy Cobham, Richard Tee, Roland Hanna and the leader just keeps getting better with age. Nearly 40 years on it still rewards every time." ~ Eric May

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