Ron Carter: Seven Steps to Heaven

Victor Feldman's stint with Miles Davis was little more than a one-night stand (although his ballad accompaniment on "Summer Night" serves as lasting testimony to their chemistry). Feldman preferred the security of studio work (bad decision) to the Davis school of jazz, but he left behind his most famous composition, "Seven Steps to Heaven." When Miles recorded it with his new band -- some fellas named Herbie, Ron and Tony -- he made jazz history. Forty-three years later, Ron Carter leads a new generation of jazz players on this proven seven-step program. Hot band and a smartly played arrangement full of surprises. The call-and-response between hard swing and Latin percussion is especially effective. Listeners should compare with the original version from the Age of Camelot to get the full effect.

November 29, 2007 · 0 comments

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Miles Davis: Seven Steps to Heaven


Miles Davis, artwork by Michael Symonds

When Miles Davis added Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams to his band in 1963, they were far from household names, and not even widely known in the jazz world. But even on this debut recording, you can tell that Miles had found another dynamite rhythm section, one destined to influence the later evolution of jazz combo playing. Hancock plays with absolute authority from the intro to the final coda. And Carter moves this piece through the paces like a jockey heading for the finish line at Churchill Downs. And could it possibly be true that drummer Tony Williams was only seventeen years old when he made this recording? He might have been too young to register for the draft (not a bad thing in '63), but his drum breaks sound like they could lead a regiment of hipsters into hard-bop hand-to-hand combat. Where does Miles find 'em? Can't say. But where does he lead 'em? Easy, right up the seven steps to jazz heaven.

November 29, 2007 · 0 comments

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