Houston's tenor saxophonist Paul Carr has provided, within a short recording career span, a number of intriguing and solid appearances. On his debut, Just Noodlin' (Jazz Karma, 2006), Carr provides a soulful and robust tenor sax in the style of Hank Mobley without seeking any deliberate comparisons. In addition, with his appearance on Eric Byrd's Brother Ray (Self Published, 2008), Carr is one of the four-man sax section which pays homage to the Ray Charles Atlantic Records period. Carr is placed in the tenor sax role of equivocating the role of David "Fathead" Newman and does a magnificent job. Carr has spent some twenty years as a member of the Washington D.C. jazz community.
For Musically Yours Carr's goal is to perform a tribute to Joe Henderson and actually immerses himself into the role completely which is something of a disappointment. Carr knew Joe Henderson somewhat and is well aware of his musical idiosyncrasies. He has chosen to not play the most obvious Henderson-related tunes, but aims for the secondary songs that the great tenor man was associated with. In addition, Carr has composed two originals that fit well within the Henderson wheelhouse.
On the opening title tune, Carr makes it clear that there will be a lot of what he calls "Joe-isms" and, in a take-no-prisoners setting, he delivers exactly that. Even on a Henderson ballad like "Black Narcissus," Carr demonstrates his comfort and familiarity with Henderson's fleet runs.
Throughout the album, it was a challenge to avoid a personal perception that kept getting in the way of enjoying this spin on the Henderson oeuvre. Instead of getting a 1960s blowing session from the golden age of Blue Note, the album provides a 1970s-type Joe Henderson ambiance.
Carr retains Terrell Stafford on trumpet from his previous album, who inserts some solid solos. Carr also steps up with a more-than A-list rhythm section. Pianist Mulgrew Miller is given many opportunities to display his chops, keeping up with Carr as does fellow-D.C. musician Michael Bowie on bass and drummer Lewis Nash.
Carr ends the session with yet another Henderson touchan a capella version of Tadd Dameron's "If You Could See Me Now."
Personnel: Paul Carr: tenor sax; Terell Stafford: trumpet; Mulgrew Miller: piano; Michael Bowie: bass; Lewis Nash: drums.