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 herethese 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.
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz.
Being a Musician myself, (Lead Guitar/Bass Guitar), I studied at the Dick Grove School of Music with Dick Grove, Jeff Richman and Lee Ritenour. This was around '84-'85. I started playing the Guitar in November 1967. Playing Guitar came quite naturally to me thank goodness. Though I spent hours upon hours practicing while my school buddies were doing Sports.
It was in the early '70s that I really got into Jazz, Jazz Rock, Jazz Fusion and World Music. Seeing Weather Report, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Larry Carlton, Steely Dan, John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, RTF, Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters, VSOP, Freddie Hubbard and so many, many more amazing artists opened my eyes to the beauty and eloquent nature of Jazz. I really love the brilliant ensemble playing that is in Jazz!!
When I play and write music, it blends so many style together. Many fans ask me why my playing sounds so jazzy. It's because I understand Blue Notes, the phrasing, the tonality, time signatures and more. I can also play Rock, Folk, Soul, R n' B and other styles too. I seem to gravitate more and more as I get older to a jazzier style. Currently I'm 62 years old. I have released 2 CDs world-wide. Working on my 3rd.
I also teach Guitar/Bass/Music Theory to my students. They range from 6 years old to much, much older. (I was hired by the City of Aurora, CO to teach ages 6-13 specifically). Currently I teach 41 children in 5 classes. Additionally another 7 private students.
My wife, Meesh, and I love Jazz dearly. It was one of the things that we share together!
Most of the people that I know today do not get jazz. I try to explain what to listen for, but many times the music of Jazz is a bit much for them. So be it.
In a nutshell, I live, breath and listen to Music 24/7. No TV except the Food Channel and Weather.
I love John Kelman's articles. They are so insightful and well-constructed!
Thank you all for doing what you do.