Ron Carter

Super Strings

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When Ron Carter was signed to Milestone in the late '70s and early '80s, the acoustic bassist wasn't afraid to dive into a variety of post-bop situations. Not every album he recorded during that period was great, but his chance-taking spirit paid off more often than not. Recorded in 1981, Super Strings finds Carter backed by a lavish string orchestra. In addition to rhythm support from pianist Kenny Barron, guitarist John Tropea, drummer Jack DeJohnette, and percussionist Ralph MacDonald, Carter is joined by no less than 16 string players (who include violin and viola players as well as three cellists). Jazz-with-strings projects are often examples of mood music or easy listening; this LP, however, is more diverse than that. Parts of the record are gentle (especially the melancholy "No, Flowers, Please"), but Carter is funky and swinging on the gospel-minded "Uptown Conversation" (which he originally recorded in the 1960s) and the lively, classical-influenced title song. One thing that separates Super Strings from other jazz-with-strings dates is an emphasis on original material; except for Gordon Parks' "Don't Misunderstand," everything on this enjoyable (if less than essential) LP was written by Carter himself. .

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