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Pick 'Em / Super Strings

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Album Review

Ever since Charlie "Bird" Parker recorded his first Charlie Parker With Strings sessions in 1949 and 1950, jazz artists have hoped to enjoy the backing of lush string orchestras. But most will never get the chance because of the expense; it's a lot easier to pay four or five musicians than 15, 20, or 25. Ron Carter, however, did fulfill that dream in the late '70s and early '80s — first on 1978's Pick 'Em, then on 1981's Super Strings. In 2001, Fantasy reissued those Milestone dates back to back on this 78-minute CD. Typically, a jazz-with-strings project will emphasize overdone standards, but Carter's own material dominates this CD; the only tunes that he didn't write are Gordon Parks' "Don't Misunderstand" and Miles Davis' "All Blues." Carter's composing is solid throughout, and the material he provides ranges from introspective ballads ("Tranquil," "Opus 2") to a funky, gospel-minded offering ("Uptown Conversation") and a melodic, Brazilian-flavored piece ("Bom Dia"). Meanwhile, "Eight" is a modal number that is obviously based on John Coltrane's "Impressions" and Miles Davis' "So What." Parts of the CD swing hard, and parts are unapologetically lush — nonetheless, Carter maintains his integrity and avoids getting into elevator muzak. The bassist obviously realizes that lush doesn't have to mean muzak. Although not among Carter's essential CDs, Pick 'Em/Super Strings is an enjoyable disc that will appeal to those who have a taste for lavish orchestral jazz.

Biography

Born: May 4, 1937 in Ferndale, MI

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The epitome of class and elegance, though not stuffy, Ron Carter has been a world class bassist and cellist since the '60s. He's among the greatest accompanists of all time, but has also done many albums exhibiting his prodigious technique. He's a brilliant rhythmic and melodic player, who uses everything in the bass and cello arsenal; walking lines, thick, full, prominent notes and tones, drones and strumming effects, and melody snippets. His bowed solos are almost as impressive as those done with...
Full Bio
Pick 'Em / Super Strings, Ron Carter
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Jun 26, 2001

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