Carter: Anything Goes
Levin Carter (born Ferndale, Michigan, on May 4, 1937) needs no
introduction. Letís just say that he is the bassistís bassist. On
Ronís hands, the bass and the man become the same entity, the same
person. Played by Ron Carter, the acoustic bass sounds like... Ron
Carter! Thatís why he is one of the three top bassists in the music
if Ron needs no introduction, his Anything Goes album does.
Recorded on June & July, 1975, at Van Gelderís Studio, it is
completely different from all the other three albums (Blues Farm,
All Blues, Spanish Blue) that Ron Carter had already
recorded for CTI. It was also entirely dissimilar of the fourth and
last album he would record for CTI in 1976, Yellow & Green.
Goes, Ron Carterís only album issued on CTIís subsidiary Kudu
label, was more reminiscent of some of the early sessions he did for
Kudu in the early Seventies, playing electric bass on albums by Hank
Crawford (Help Me Make It Through The Night), Grover
Washington, Jr. (Inner City Blues), as well as on Deodatoís
unforgettable fusion version of Baubles, Bangles And Beads, from the
CTI best-selling album ever, Prelude. Not to mention CTI
Summer Jazz Live At The Hollywood Bowl, recorded in 1972, which
liner photo shows Ron playing electric bass seated beside George
doesnít mean that Ron plays electric bass on Anything Goes.
He only uses acoustic bass and, for some solo overdubs, the piccolo
bass, an instrument that, like he explained on Leonard Feather/Ira
Gitlerís Encyclopedia of Jazz In The Seventies, ďis three-quarters
the size of a three-quarter bass... tuned like a cello upside down.Ē
But the Anything Goes atmosphere is electric and electrifying.
Thanks to Creed Taylorís production orientations, David Matthewsí
funkfied arrangements, and specially Eric Galeís frenetic r&b
is very important to note that the Ron Carter/CTI association was a
two-way street. For sure Ron was already an acclaimed player when he
signed as a solo artist for CTI in 1973. But, thanks to Creed
Taylorís Midas touch, who put him as sideman on so many CTI sessions
as possible between 1970 and 1973, and also allowed him to record, on
January 1973, his debut album for the label (Blues Farm),
Ronís popularity increased enormously. To the point that, on
December 1973, Ron was, for the first time, voted Best Acoustic
Bassist on Down Beatís Readers Poll.
Carter had become Creed Taylorís favorite bassist in the
Mid-Sixties, during Creedís years as A&R at Verve (on albums by
Wes Montgomery, Astrud Gilberto and Kenny Burrell) although they had
worked before on Gil Evansí Out Of The Cool masterpiece for
the Impulse! label in 1960. Later on, during the A&M/CTI period,
Ron recorded with everyone, from Artie Butler to Nat Adderley, from
Paul Desmond to J&K and the Soul Flutes group.
in the early Seventies, Ronís musical aplomb, aristocratic attitude
and stunning virtuosity became and integral part of CTIís success,
leaving his trademark on some of the labelís most memorable albums
by Freddie Hubbard (Red Clay), Stanley Turrentine (Sugar),
Hubert Laws (The Rite of Spring), George Benson (White
Rabbit), Milt Jackson (Sunflower), Chet Baker (She Was
Too Good To Me) and Jim Hall (Concierto). For sure, Ronís
contributions for sure helped a lot to lead CTI to be voted the No.1
jazz label by Billboard magazine in 1974.
back on Anything Goes, all its basic tracks were recorded on
June 1975, the same month on which arranger David Matthews was working
on Kudu sessions for Hank Crawford (I Hear A Symphony) and
Idris Muhammad (House of the Rising Sun). This time, however,
there is no strings section. Just a solid rhythm team (with late
keyboardists Don Grolnick and Richard Tee) and a small but fiery horn
section, which includes Phil Woods, whose association with Creed dates
backs from 1958, when he began to record as a member of the Creed
Taylor Orchestra in such albums as Lonelyville, Once Around
The Clock (with singer Patricia Scot) and Shock! Philís
latest session for Creed was on CTIís all-star project Rhythmstick,
album musical direction becomes clear in the opening track, a
surprising soul-disco version of Cole Porterís standard Anything
Goes. Hubert Laws plays the melody, with Eric Gale (using the wah-wah
pedal) and Ron Carter (on the piccolo bass) taking the solo spots.
Steve Gadd is on the drums, with three female singers (Patti Austin
among them) doing the backing vocals.
Sanbornís very influential alto sax sound carries Barettaís Theme,
the TV cop show tune written by Dave Grusin and Morgan Ames. However,
the sax soloist is tenorist Michael Brecker, whose muscular approach
fits well with David Matthewsí basic sketches for the rhythm
section. On Big Fro (probably the only disco-tune ever written by Ron
Carter), Eric Gale plays his ass off, contributing with a bluesy solo
attached to irresistible r&b horn riffs.
Give You Anything But My Love (please, not to be confused with the
Jimmy McHugh-Dorothy Fields standard I Canít Give You Anything But
Love, Baby) is a pop hit written for The Stylisticsí album Thank
You Baby. Its composers Hugo Peretti, Luigi Creatore and George
David Weiss are the same trio who wrote Canít Help Falling In Love
for Elvis Presley. Under the name Hugo & Luigi, that RCA staff
production duo also conceived some of the main hits of the early rock
& roll era.
the more commercial stuff, there are two seductive Brazilian-oriented
songs penned by Ron Carter: De Samba and Quarto Azul, both enlightened
by melodic solo statements by Hubert Laws (using electric flute on the
bossa nova Quarto Azul) and Randy Brecker, on flugelhorn. Eric Gale
plays an amplified acoustic guitar, Ralph MacDonald doubles on congas
and percussion, and drummer Jimmy Madison (a member of David
Matthewsí Big Band on CTI albums by Art Farmer and Urbie Green)
reveals the influence of Dom Um Romao.
Azul and De Samba display Ron Carterís passion and affinity for
Brazilian rhythms, which led him to become the top choice bassist for
many Brazilian masters such as Antonio Carlos Jobim (Wave, Tide,
Stone Flower, Matita Pere, Urubu, Miucha &
Jobim, Antonio Brasileiro), Astrud Gilberto (Beach Samba,
Windy, Gilberto with Turrentine), Dom Um Romao (Hotmosphere),
Eumir Deodato (Prelude), Luiz Bonfa (Sanctuary, The
New Face of Bonfa), Hermeto Pascoal (Hermeto, Slaves
Mass), Ithamara Koorax (Red River, Ithamara Koorax Sings
The Bonfa Songbook), Milton Nascimento (Angelus), Airto
Moreira (Natural Feelings, Seeds On The Ground, Free)
and Flora Purim (Stories To Tell, 500 Miles At Montreux,
Open Your Eyes You Can Fly, Encounter). Since then, Ron
Carter has continued to write many Brazilian-oriented songs, like Ah,
Rio (from his 1980 album Patrao, for Mliestone Records) and the
title track of a recent Blue Note album, Mr. Bow Tie. For this
and the other aforementioned reasons, Anything Goes remains,
for better or for worse, depending of each listenerís taste, an
one-of-a-kind album on Ron Carterís discography.
DeSouteiro is Brazilís top jazz producer and CTI historian.