Legendary jazz bassist Ron Carter has since 2002 led a drum-less trio with the late pianist Mulgrew Miller and guitarist Russell Malone, sometimes referred to as the Golden Striker Trio based on the title of their debut album. Miller left the band in 2012 and was replaced by Donald Vega, a younger and very talented pianist who used to be based in Los Angeles. Cocktails at the Cotton Club is the new trio's first CD, recorded live in concert at The Cotton Club in Tokyo, Japan. Due to the instrumental mix and stylistic choice, the group has an atmosphere of high quality chamber music. The dynamic range is somewhat limited and there's nothing flashy or bombastic about their music, but that is on purpose and that is not the point. The point is in the art of improvisation and interplay. The real excitement starts after the themes are stated, and attentive listeners will be rewarded by the wealth of ideas expressed and the beauty of the three masters' improvisation.
While director Francis Coppola's potboiling crime drama set against the gloriously tumultuous backdrop of Harlem's famed Cotton Club nightspot of the '20s and '30s didn't quite come together as a cinematic whole, John Barry's efforts at supervising, scoring, and recreating the energetic jive and wail of the era very nearly carry the day. The opportunity was likely a dream come true for the former jazzman turned film scorer; his adaptations of standards by Ellington and Cab Calloway are reverent yet energetic, infused by original music that weaves it into an accessible and rewarding tapestry of time, place, and art. Great soundtrack.
The Cotton Club was a famous night club in Harlem. The story follows the people that visited the club, those that ran it, and is peppered with the Jazz music that made it so famous.