August 16, 2007 — Vol. 43, No. 1
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Bassist Ron Carter pays tribute to mentor Miles Davis

Charles J. Gans

NEW YORK — Bassist Ron Carter sometimes wishes he could go back in time to the 1960s and play again with the Miles Davis Quintet — one of the most acclaimed and influential small combos in jazz history.

It’s not that Carter, who turned 70 in May, is overly nostalgic. It’s just that 40 years ago his bass could hardly be heard amid Davis’ trumpet, Wayne Shorter’s saxophones, Herbie Hancock’s piano and Tony Williams’ drums.

Carter still plays the same Czech-made upright bass that he bought for $125 when he came to New York in 1959 to study for his master’s degree at the Manhattan School of Music, but today he can take advantage of the special bass pickups, improved amplifiers and other technological breakthroughs that have enabled audiences to really hear the instrument. Full story

Despite long layoff, ‘Rush Hour 3’ never slows down

Kam Williams

It’s almost unfair to their fans for Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan to take so much time off between making movies together. After a six-year hiatus, the dynamic duo finally returns with “Rush Hour 3” — and the good news is that it’s well worth the wait.

This madcap adventure measures up to its predecessors in every way, from the laugh-a-minute hijinks to the characters’ genuine chemistry to the carefully orchestrated fight sequences. And although Los Angeles Police Department Detective James Carter (Tucker) and Hong Kong Chief Inspector Lee (Chan) are just up to their typical tricks, there’s something comfortable about watching them in action again, even when you have a good idea what to expect.
This chapter in the pair’s story opens in L.A., where we find the motor-mouthed Carter demoted to directing street traffic while Lee is once more guarding Chinese Ambassador Han (Tzi Ma), as he did in the trilogy’s first installment. After an assassination attempt leaves Han seriously wounded, Lee promises the diplomat’s daughter Soo Yung (Jingchu Zhang), now fully grown, to track down the shooter.
Full story

‘Black Men’ doc fact-checks malicious myths

Kam Williams

Harriet Tubman once wistfully reflected, “If I could have convinced more slaves that they were slaves, I could have freed thousands more.” The spirit of that telling quote has been resurrected by filmmaker Janks Morton, hoping to shake another generation of African Americans out of the doldrums.

Morton employs Tubman’s adage during his prefatory remarks to “What Black Men Think,” a thought-provoking documentary that he produced, directed and periodically appears in, serving as a narrator, a commentator and an interviewer. The picture paints an enlightening and empathetic portrait of African American males by employing some surprising raw statistics to suggest that we all reconsider some commonly held beliefs about black men. Full story

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