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Ron Carter: Orfeu

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Orfeu documents bassist Carter’s latest excursion into Brazilian music, a genre he has played since the ’60s, when he appeared on Antonio Carlos Jobim’s first U.S. records. The feeling is more authentic than the usual North American version of the bossa nova because, as Carter explains in the album notes, “I’ve tried to intertwine what we develop in terms of [multiple] rhythms with what the lead instrument is playing.”

The group mixes the melodic side of jazz improvisation with the subtle insinuation of the various supporting rhythms. Tenor saxophonist Houston Person coaxes a lot of feeling out of his horn on several Carter originals and the familiar “Manha de Carnaval.” Guitarist Bill Frisell accommodates himself pleasantly to this context, skipping some of his customary warped sounds. Pianist Stephen Scott, drummer Payton Crossley and percussionist Steve Kroon dovetail faultlessly. Carter solos only once, throughout “Samba de Orfeu.” This is one of his better albums as a leader.