The preeminent bassist of his generation, Ron Carter (b. 1937) switched to the smaller, higher-pitched piccolo bass, an instrument created to his specifications, when he assembled this synchronous quartet. About a year-and-a-half later, these 1977 performances were recorded at New York's Sweet Basil. Joined by a rhythm section that would go on to become three-quarters of Sphere, one of the Eighties' most arresting bands, Carter et al. forged a lean and springy approach to what was essentially a string trio (piano being a member of the string family), plus Ben Riley's always-musical drums. With bassist Buster Williams patrolling the music's lower range, and pianist Kenny Barron gliding in the middle register, Carter was on top of things in every sense. These six extended performances capture an ensemble that effortlessly shifted shapes (from European classical influences to straight-ahead blues) but unfailingly set a deep, yet elegant, groove.