Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
Mark their names. Kenny Baron on piano. Ben Riley on drums. Buster Williams on bass. Ron Carter on piccolo bass. This unit, led by Carter and appearing at Blues Alley through Saturday, is perhaps the premiere acoustic jazz quartet of the day.
Though Carter sits strongly at the helm, it is the unique empathy of these musicians that gives the group its varified balanced and tightness. Two tunes in the opening set, the Miles Davis chestnut "All Blues" and the show tune "Someday My Prince Will Come," highlighted group and individual playing.
On "All Blues," after the gently swaying introduction, each player improvised vigorously off the changes, with Carter alternating between arco (bowed) and plucked bass and displaying a precise, economic and ultimately staggering array of techniques and ideas.
On "Someday My Prince . . ." he proved that the bass is beautifully designed to play melodies as well as to underline them. In fact, there's probably no player better than Carter at achieving a consistently pure tone within highly flexible tempi and dynamics. Aided by his fine companions in the sharing of a sound, Ron Carter is presenting some of the most exciting and intelligent music in town this week.