Bassist Ron Carter had long been Creed Taylor’s first-choice bassist on record dates stretching as far back to the classic Gil Evans recording Out of the Cool in 1960. Carter was the first bass choice for many Creed Taylor productions throughout the 1960s for the Impulse, Verve, MGM and A&M/CTI labels, even while the bassist was recording and touring as part of the Miles Davis Quintet. And it was Ron Carter’s dulcet tones and swinging accompaniment on the double bass that drove nearly every CTI album since 1970 into the overdrive that its soloists are often given sole credit for.
Surprisingly, though, Ron Carter’s second CTI recording, All Blues, fell well below the radar. It was hardly noticed when it was first issued in early 1974 (his 1973 CTI debut, Blues Farm, which was hardly a hit, still remains better known). Interestingly, it’s probably among the best of the albums the bassist waxed for the CTI label between 1973 and 1976. This is due in no small measure to the commanding presence of tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson on “A Feeling,” “117 Special,” “Rufus” and “All Blues.” Carter here also solidifies a simpatico musical kinship with pianist Roland Hanna, who he’d first played with on a European tour in 1969. Hanna is especially featured on the florid trio feature, “Light Blue” (not the Monk piece), as well as Carter’s bop-y “Rufus” (not the Archie Shepp piece). Not surprisingly, Ron Carter dominates the proceedings, with his especially distinctive bass helming any number of attractive solo features (not to mention the overdubbed bass “solo” of “Will You Be Mine”). Doug Payne/Jazzonline
One of bassist Ron Carter’s better albums as a leader, this CTI LP features a very compact quartet comprised of tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson, pianist Roland Hanna (keyboardist Richard Tee sits in on one number), drummer Billy Cobham and Carter. All of the music (even the ballad “Will You Still Be Mine?”) has a blues feeling although several are not really blues. However, the quality of the solos is high, and this date lives up to one’s expectations. Scott Yanow/AMG
Ron Carter’s “All Blues” is one of the greatest recordings of the ‘70s and a perfect introduction to jazz for those who don’t know it, or don’t think they would want to. The musicianship is flawless, the recording quality is tops, and the music performed on a single afternoon in October 1973 by Joe Henderson, Billy Cobham, Richard Tee, Roland Hanna and the leader just keeps getting better with age. Nearly 40 years on it still rewards every time. Eric May