Ron Carter with Eric Dolphy & Mal Waldron: Where?

Three post-beboppers incorporate something of Ornette Coleman's 'new thing' in a 1961 set including George Duvivier and Charles Persip

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1961 was a time of ferment and experimentation in modern jazz. Many musicians listened nervously to the Ornette Coleman quartet at the Five Spot in NYC wondering if it represented where jazz was heading. Others, like Carter and Dolphy here, and trumpeter Booker Little, incorporated the new thing into their compositions and performances.

This was Carter’s first album as a leader, and he certainly came up with a wide-ranging, varied programme of music. Rally opens the set with Carter playing arco cello and Dolphy on bass clarinet. Carter handles the uptempo lines efficiently even if he seems just a little uncomfortable bowing. Dolphy fashions a convoluted bass clarinet solo incorporating nursery-rhyme songs in the middle. Waldron’s spare piano lines flow along neatly. Bass Duet, between Carter and George Duvivier is a laidback performance by two solid masters of the double bass. Both solo, their tones strong but varied.

Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise has Carter soloing arco on bass, this time with Dolphy’s alto sounding like a variation and extension of Charlie Parker. Dolphy is impressive on this release as both someone taking jazz into new avenues and also keeping in that Parker tradition but with variations. Where? is a ballad with Carter on arco cello. He was a cellist first before taking up bass which explains his efficiency on both instruments, picked or bowed.

Yes, Indeed allows us to hear a gospel flavour to the music as Dolphy plays warm, lyrical flute and Carter plays pizzicato cello. This track swings compulsively, thanks mainly to Duvivier on bass and Charles (later, Charli) Persip on drums. Saucer Eyes rounds out an impressive, varied programme with Dolphy again fluid on flute, Carter back on rhythm section duties on bass, linking up securely with the fine drumming of Persip.

Discography
Rally; Bass Duet; Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise; Where?; Yes, Indeed; Saucer Eyes (38.12)
Carter (b, clo); Dolphy (as, bcl, f); Waldron (p); George Duvivier (b); Charles Persip (d). New Jersey, 20 June 1961.
New Jazz OJC CR00718