Alan Pasqua, Dave Carpenter & Peter Erskine
www.alanpasqua.com • www.petererskine.com
I don’t quite know how to start this review. Bassist Dave Carpenter died on June 24th of a heart attack. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Dave, he was truly one of the unsung bass heroes of the past few decades. Very active in the LA sessions scene, he recorded hundreds of albums (as well as jingles and a hundred or so film scores). He’s played with everyone from Chick Corea, Allan Holdsworth and Herbie Hancock to Rod Stewart and Bette Midler. He was one of those cats who could walk in and make the band sound better. Always having the ears to be of benefit in any musical setting is a special talent and a hard-earned gift. Equally adept at upright and his 6-string electric bass, he could play any style with authority and as if it was “his thing”. In reality, he was a musician of a rare caliber and also a human of rare integrity and kindness. We will all mourn the loss of such a contributer to modern music.
A follow up to the 2002 recording “Badlands”, “Standards” showcases these three virtuosos playing songs they love with the best of friends. Erskine, Pasqua and Carpenter have been playing together in one incarnation or another, one band or another, one session or another for decades and it shows here. There is a playfulness happening here that is subtle, but very much apparent. Simultaneously, there is a deep respect for the music and beauty inherent in these melodies that some of us have heard many times and, perhaps begun to take for granted. Erskine, Pasqua and Carpenter are all at the top of the lists of producers and engineers in Los Angeles because of their ability to be endlessly musical while ALWAYS serving the music before the ego. The music is beautiful and the playing is as good as it gets (as you’d imagine).
While the compositions may harken back to a time that is studied often but truly appreciated less and less with many young musicians, the playing is as virtuosic as any you’ll find anywhere. This is a refreshingly modern, yet traditional take on these standards. World class players interpreting some of the most beautiful melodies and changes history has to offer… Jazz lovers of old and new will love this disc. Very highly recommended.