Saxophonist Houston Person and bassist Ron Carter have a duo partnership that goes back at least as far as their two 1990 recordings, Something in Common and Now's the Time! Since those albums, the legendary artists have released several more duo collaborations, each one a thoughtful and minimalist production showcasing their masterful command of jazz standards, blues, and bop. The duo's 2016 effort, the aptly titled Chemistry, is no exception and once again finds Person and Carter communing over a well-curated set of jazz standards. As on their previous albums, Chemistry is a deceptively simple conceit; just two jazz journeymen playing conversational duets on well-known jazz songs.
Legendary jazz bassist Ron Carter has since 2002 led a drum-less trio with the late pianist Mulgrew Miller and guitarist Russell Malone, sometimes referred to as the Golden Striker Trio based on the title of their debut album. Miller left the band in 2012 and was replaced by Donald Vega, a younger and very talented pianist who used to be based in Los Angeles. Cocktails at the Cotton Club is the new trio's first CD, recorded live in concert at The Cotton Club in Tokyo, Japan. Due to the instrumental mix and stylistic choice, the group has an atmosphere of high quality chamber music. The dynamic range is somewhat limited and there's nothing flashy or bombastic about their music, but that is on purpose and that is not the point. The point is in the art of improvisation and interplay. The real excitement starts after the themes are stated, and attentive listeners will be rewarded by the wealth of ideas expressed and the beauty of the three masters' improvisation.
Herbie Hancock's second album released under this title, 1982's The Herbie Hancock Trio features the pianist backed by his fellow former Miles Davis alum, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Tony Williams. As with the trio's 1977 debut, the 1982 outing finds the group reuniting for a set of standards and originals. This is swinging, sophisticated jazz done in a straight-ahead style. Recorded at CBS/Sony Shinanomachi Studio, Tokyo, Japan on July 27, 1981 by Sony PCM-1600 Digital Recording System.
Violin/piano duet sessions are routine in the classical music world – after all, Beethoven wrote ten sonatas for this combination – but you rarely encounter them in jazz, due in great part to the shortage of jazz violinists. The Kenny Barron/Regina Carter sessions came about sometime after a gig at Sweet Basil's in New York – and since the two happen to record for the same label, one imagines the only obstacle was the commercial potential of this teaming. But not to worry, for this session has plenty of life and wit; indeed, the sounds of the violin and piano go together as naturally in jazz as in the classical field (must be the resonating strings and wood factors that these instruments share).
This Is Jazz represents the third collaboration for the Harrison/Carter/Cobham trio. Heroes (2004) and New York Cool: Live At The Blue Note (2005) were acclaimed releases, and established a chemistry among these veterans. Their first encounter was on 2002’s Art Of Four.