Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » Carl Bartlett, Jr.: Hopeful

2

Carl Bartlett, Jr.: Hopeful

By

Sign in to view read count
Carl Bartlett, Jr.: Hopeful
Hope springs eternal from the horn of Carl Bartlett, Jr. The young alto saxophonist's debut album puts his positive spirit out front on a set of music that explores the quiet, the lively and everything in between. Bartlett, a Queens, New York native still living in the jazz capital of the universe, didn't instantly take to the saxophone, having first spent time exploring clarinet, trumpet and piano at an early age, but he found his true voice when he met the alto at the age of fourteen. Now, about a decade and a half later, he's putting that voice to good use.

On Hopeful, Bartlett brings out the sunny side in life and visits in on a variety of settings. He clearly marks himself as a risk-taker by starting things off with a solo saxophone showcase ("Hopeful"), but it pays off. This performances gives him an instant air of credibility that carries through the whole album. Bartlett never returns to this format and that's understandable; after these first five minutes, he's already made his point—and point of impact—and he need not return to the original scene of success. Instead, he journeys far and wide, exploring waltz-time worlds that occasionally detour into five ("Fidgety Season"), dropping into bossa nova territory ("Release"), and sprinting his way through a notable burner ("Quantum Leaps (And Bounds)"). He also expertly delivers odd-metered blues with a hard bop veneer ("Seven Up"), visits gentler realms ("Julie B.") and hits a classic or two along the way ("It Could Happen To You").

Ebullience is apparent every time Bartlett picks up his horn and this makes perfect sense. His bright toned alto is clearly a reflection of his positive spirit and it serves as the guiding force throughout. Occasionally, he carries too much of the load, as on "Julie B.," which loses focus when the spotlight shifts away from Bartlett and moves toward bassist Eric Lemon, but these issues pop up infrequently.

Bartlett is clearly the star of his own show, but a few other players deserve a mention. Pianist Sharp Radway wins the award for most supportive presence, as he continually lays down a comfortable foundation for Bartlett's explorations. Guitarist Ron Jackson, who sadly only appears on the driving "Quantum Leaps (And Bounds)," proves to be an excellent fit. He moves in lockstep with the leader, as they both fly through tricky lines, and delivers some attention-grabbing solo work.

In order to find success in music these days, artists have to be more than organizationally adept and technically capable; they also need to have the right attitude and outlook on life, which is ever apparent in the work of Carl Bartlett, Jr.

Track Listing

Hopeful; Fidgety Season; Julie B.; Quantum Leaps (And Bounds); Release; Seven Up; It Could Happen To You; I Love Lucy.

Personnel

Carl Bartlett, Jr.: alto saxophone; Sharp Radway: piano; Eric Lemon: bass; Emanuel Harrold: drums; Charles Bartlett: trumpet (7); Ron Jackson: guitar (4).

Album information

Title: Hopeful | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Self Produced

Comments


For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

Tags

View events near New York City
Jazz Near New York City
Events Guide | Venue Guide | Local Businesses | More...

More

Blue Topaz
Peter Hand
Midnight Rose
Paul Rodgers
Open Me: A Higher Consciousness of Sound and...
Kahil El'Zabar's Ethnic Heritage Ensemble
Modern Art Trio
Franco D'Andrea, Franco Tonani, Bruno Tommaso.

Popular

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.