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When Skies Are Grey (2001)

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Ron Carter

This beautiful, Latin-themed album by bass superpower Ron Carter almost can stand in as a Stephen Scott showcase, for the young pianist's verve and finesse are in evidence from start to finish. Carter reserves plenty of solo room (and a number of melody statements) for himself, however. Drummer Harvey Mason and percussionist Steve Kroon work together to create a luxurious, flowing Latin vibe that makes each tune a true listening pleasure. One highlight is the group's slow, polyrhythmic take on Jobim's "Corcovado." Another is a grooving version of Carter's "Loose Change," a tune that appeared in a very different light on Joe Henderson's State of the Tenor album. Scott woos with his bluesy delicacy on "Que Pasa," another Carter original, and swings exuberantly on fellow pianist Ray Bryant's "Cubano Chant." Carter's brief quote of "Seven Steps to Heaven" during the closing original, "Mi Tempo," is enough to make one skip a heartbeat. When Skies Are Grey contains nothing ambitious or wildly innovative -- just great, accessible music. Fans of Stephen Scott in particular can't miss with this one. ~ David R. Adler