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No bassist shapes ensemble flow more determinedly than Ron Carter, whose fine melodic ear, nuanced attention to detail, and definite point of view impact every performance he participates in as sideman or leader. On the first six tunes of ORFEU, the 62-year-old virtuoso focuses on his excellent rhythm section, laying down deep, insinuating grooves that propel them with leopard-like grace through a variety of sambas ("Saudade," "Manha de Carnival," "Por Do Sol," "Obrigado"), a spiritual ("Goin' Home") and a blues-funk strut ("1:17 Special"). He entrusts the preponderance of solo duties to guests Houston Person (tenor sax) and Bill Frisell (guitar), both melodic improvisers of the first rank with immediately identifiable sounds. Lest you forget his solo gifts, on the concluding title track Carter conjures a magisterial seven-minute statement, complemented by Frisell's pristine, intuitive comp and whispery percussion. It caps a mature tour de force whose pleasures lay in subtle understatement.
|Label:||Blue Note Records|