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Daniel Carter Quartet: Brooklyn, September 18, 2010

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Daniel Carter Quartet
The Freedom Garden
Brooklyn, New York
September 18, 2010

If you do not know about Daniel Carter, you are not to blame. For over thirty years Carter has been an New York musician, playing with free jazz innovators such as David S. Ware, William Parker, and Matthew Shipp, but has always remained obscure. Talking with Carter, it becomes clear that he has avoided the spotlight by choice; despising how people in the music industry "shove each other out of the way." For this reason Carter frequently finds younger, innovative musicians with which to play.

On September 18, 2010, Carter played at The Freedom Garden with a new quartet, including bassist Elad Muskatel, guitarist Zach Pruitt and drummer Justin Veloso. Carter played soprano, alto, and tenor saxophone as well as trumpet, giving the band the ability to transform sounds throughout the set. The group played two twenty-to-thirty-minute improvisations that spanned melodic moments and dissonant, textural explorations. During the first part of the set, Carter played trumpet as Muskatel played upright bass. This section was truer to the tenets of free jazz, as the band members responded to each others' melodies. But through the most harmonious points of the music there was a profound tension. Both Pruitt and Veloso are advocates of extended technique, and rarely play their instruments conventionally for extended periods of time. So as Carter and Muskatel more directly spoke to one another's melodies, Pruitt and Veloso beautifully clashed with their partners, through scraping sounds and bent pitches.

As the music continued, the band transformed when Carter switched to saxophone and Muskatel to electric bass. On saxophone, Carter added atypical timbres with breathy tones and high harmonics, while Muskatel explored lower registers as he detuned his electric bass and played powerful pitches that were more felt than heard. This encouraged the other two members to push more boundaries: Pruitt began creating chime-like sounds by wedging a ruler between his guitar strings, as Veloso began bowing an overturned cymbal on his floor tom. The resulting music was a series of plinks and plonks that sounded more like an unkempt machine than a jazz quartet.

This was the band's only performance to date, but the success of the show and the power of the music should ensure that they play again. Each one of these musicians is an active performer and composer, floating around the New York scene. Do not hesitate to see them with their other ensembles.

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