113

Kent Carter: Beauvais Cathedral (1974-75)

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Kent Carter: Beauvais Cathedral (1974-75) It used to be a very rare event for a bassist to make a solo record. Now things have changed a bit, but Beauvais Cathedral takes the listener back to the day. This disc is not exactly a solo bass disc (3 tracks are solo bass and one is solo cello; the rest are higher-order units) but it conveys a strong sense of single- mindedness and direction. Kent Carter's first experiments in this realm from 1974-75 portray a clever and focused mind at work. The use of edits and overdubs on most of these tracks reveals a coherence and symphonic compositional sense which rarely appears in free improvisation. Exactly how much of that energy derives from the production is hard to tell, but it's probably minimal. (Don't go looking for crystal clear sound here—these recordings are 25 years old, though remarkably well-preserved.)

Carter is a versatile player, and each piece in this collection has its own distinct personality. Some of the common threads include attention to structure, even among the most exploratory efforts; considerable focus on the use of dynamics to develop, sustain, and release tension; and an open-ended willingness to bring strange (and at times otherworldly) sounds into the mix. The best example of pure solo playing can be found on "Bass Suite No. 1: Fingers," where Carter extends and develops a theme using a range of techniques: mostly pizzicato, with plenty of percussive tones, stretching, and drone-like double-stops. More textured work appears on "Play Time," where Carter bursts forth on the cello with impact and energy in response to what sounds like a shortwave unintelligibly scanning across frequencies. At times the cello and radio sounds are nearly indistinguishable, as Carter sneaks in and out of high-register squeaking. Finally, the title tune (with 8 overdubbed voices) sounds dark, treacherous, and eerie as Carter scratches his bow across the bass (and 5 cellos). "Beauvais Cathedral" stands out as something of a pre-electronica dark ambient composition, exploiting higher-order harmonics and eventually insistent tumbling treble tones in an ephemeral onrush of sound.

It's remarkable that one man (with scattered help here and there; see below) could come up with this broad a range of sound. And rather than yanking out all the stops to find unexplored niches in alternative techniques, this disc tends to emphasize creative collage construction and careful thematic development. This record reminds me at times of Dave Holland's early solo work, but Carter's efforts are much more open-ended and multi-dimensional. Best of all, Beauvais Cathedral is a disc that reveals many layers of ideas upon repeated listening.


Track Listing: Cello Study 1: Pinch; Dance 2: Rhapsody; Play Time; Stretch; Bass Time for Max; Chateau de Maignelay; Other Fingers; Cello Solo 2: Beginnings; Michala Dance; Bass Suit No. 1: Fingers; Beauvais Cathedral; Thumps; Steps; Tarragona.

Personnel: Kent Carter: bass, cello, radio, melodica, piano strings, drums; Phillip Pochon: cello; Michala Marcus: flute; Richard Marechin: piano; Carlos Zingaro: violin.

| Record Label: Emanem | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "And to the Republic" CD/LP/Track Review And to the Republic
by Mark F. Turner
Published: October 12, 2016
Read "Triadic Episode" CD/LP/Track Review Triadic Episode
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 25, 2016
Read "Brooklyn Blowhards" CD/LP/Track Review Brooklyn Blowhards
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 31, 2016
Read "Playing the 60s" CD/LP/Track Review Playing the 60s
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 19, 2017
Read "Dancing Our Way To Death" CD/LP/Track Review Dancing Our Way To Death
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 16, 2016
Read "Earprint" CD/LP/Track Review Earprint
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 14, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!