“Ron Carter: Finding the Right Notes” Soundtrack Highlights Bass Great’s Work

Ron Carter: Finding the Right NotesAfter six years of production, the documentary Ron Carter: Finding The Right Notes has been released via PBS. The maestro’s life and musical legacy are covered from his beginnings as a cellist through his time with Miles Davis and his solo career, which continues today.

The film’s soundtrack has also been released, which acts as its own portrait of the jazz bass icon while focusing on his contemporary work. Carter is featured in several formats, starting with the WDR Big Band on the bassist’s composition “Receipt, Please,” which has a wonderful bass solo capped by his signature descending double stops.

Next up is “Soft Winds,” performed by his Golden Striker trio with Russell Malone and Donald Vega live at the Newport Jazz Festival, followed by “Flamenco Sketches” by his Foursight Quartet with Renee Rosnes, Jimmy Greene, and Payton Crossley.

Tracks four and five are standouts for bass aficionados. “Bag’s Groove” sees Carter and Malone joined by Stanley Clarke on electric, marking the first time the two bass giants recorded together.

“He’s creating his legacy, I think, every day,” Clarke says of Carter. “I think he’s been doing that for a long time. … every bass player today, whether they know it, like it, or whatever, when you play jazz bass, there’s a bit of Ron Carter in everyone.”

A recurring piece of Carter’s repertoire, “Willow Weep For Me,” on the soundtrack is an impromptu duet with Christian McBride, another phenomenal musician who credits Carter as a huge influence. Their unique approaches meld together as they trade solos and support each other over the slow, bluesy standard.

The album continues with the WDR Big Band and a duet with guitarist Bill Frisell. Its final track is a duet with pianist Jon Batiste that comes off as half performance, half lesson as the elder statesman stretches out the harmony like only he can while Batiste revels at the moment. The gathering of Batiste and Carter was a key part of the new film, and this performance was just icing on the cake. Director Peter Schnall gathered them at Power Station studio to discuss Carter’s history.

“My hope was that the two would play together,” says Schnall. “When Ron showed up with his bass, I knew that something was going to happen.”

Whether you’re a new or old fan of Ron Carter, the documentary and soundtrack are sure to be a highlight of the year.

The Ron Carter: Finding The Right Notes Soundtrack is out now on CD, vinyl (November 18), and as a digital download (iTunes and Amazon MP3).

Ron Carter: Finding The Right Notes Soundtrack Track List:

  1. Receipt, Please
  2. Soft Winds
  3. Flamenco Sketches
  4. Bag’s Groove
  5. Willow Weep for Me
  6. Blues for D.P.
  7. Doom Mood
  8. My Man’s Gone Now
  9. A Nice Song
  10. Sweet Lorraine

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