These quartets are Juilliard specialties, and anyone wanting to hear this music played with a near ideal combination of virtuosity and humanity need look no further. Carter's quartets are not for the musically faint of heart: they are uncompromisingly thorny, intricate pieces that require lots of intense, dedicated listening. Very few people doubt their seriousness–or even their claims to musical greatness–but just as few people enjoy listening to them. Perhaps this spectacular set will encourage the adventurous to give them a shot. They're worth the time.
Given the glut of "String Quartet Tribute to So and So," "Electronic Tribute to Some Crappy Band," and "Pickin' on Whomever" "tributes," it's somewhat surprising that no one has tackled Pavement in a tribute album – not until now, at any rate. And even more surprising is that it's not one of those aforementioned knockoffs; it's a heavyweight jazz session with James Carter, Cyrus Chestnut, and Reginald Veal, three of jazz's finest players on their respective instruments (rounded out by the talented Ali Jackson on drums). You may be asking, "what the hell are a bunch of jazzbos doing playing Pavement tunes?" The short answer, "making a great album." Remember, underneath their slacker image and loose, lo-fi aesthetic, Pavement's best tunes were memorable and melodic with interesting (though sometimes ramshackle) arrangements.
Pastels is an album by bassist Ron Carter recorded at Fantasy Studios in California in 1976 and released on the Milestone label. Some tremendous playing by Carter, Kenny Barron (piano), and Hugh McCracken (guitarrs), though the strings get intrusive.
Carter Burwell's score for Joel & Ethan Coen's cinematic version of Charles Portis' novel True Grit (they consciously decided to ignore the original Oscar-winning film because they considered it a bore) is rooted in the world view of its main character, the outrageously self-righteous Mattie Ross (played by Hailee Steinfeld). Burwell used classic Protestant hymns as inspirations; in some cases bits from the classic hymns themselves – “Hold to God’s Unchanging Hand” (by Franklin L. Eiland), “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” (by Charles Converse), “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” (by Elisha A. Hoffman & Anthony J. Showalter), “Talk About Suffering” (Traditional), and “The Glory-Land Way” (by J.S. Torbett) – for his cues. These pieces in particular, from the opening theme, "The Wicked Flee," "A Methodist and a Son of a Bitch," and "I Will Carry You," all begin simply, lyrically, almost reverentially before giving way to grander pieces of music that reflect the land and history.