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Daniel Carter: Luminescence

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Daniel Carter is quickly, and quietly, becoming one of the most important players on the free jazz scene. But despite being a thirty year veteran of the NYC music community and having worked with everyone from Sun Ra to Medeski, Martin, and Wood, Carter remains largely an underground legend.

Luminescence , the saxophonist’s first album released under his own name, is a series of stunning duets that team Carter with another “downtown” vet, bassist Reuben Radding.

Following post-9/11 airline baggage restrictions, Carter was forced to leave all but his alto sax at home for the recording of Luminescence in Seattle, WA. No problem though, as the absence of his usual arsenal of instruments allows Carter to focus all his attention on the intricacies and impulses of the alto sax.

Carter and Radding challenge each other throughout the album to dig deep into their instruments possibilities. Carter’s saxophone work, though undeniably free, is clearly more influenced by the melancholy vibes of the blues than the spastic ramblings of free jazz. This gritty, soulful feeling of the blues that Carter effortlessly evokes sits quite comfortably with the dreary, bowed bass lines of Radding. Contrary to the slap-happy interplay of William Parker, a frequent collaborator of Carter’s on the New York scene, Radding seems most comfortable providing an emotive backdrop for Carter’s melodic soul-searching.

With little regard for convention, Daniel Carter truly lives in the musical moment, playing each note as if it were his last. His style is neither the fiery madness of Vandermark or Ware nor the sound magic of Albert Ayler. Instead, Carter is clearly more introspective and meditative; thus, of all the post-Coltrane free saxophonists, it is Carter who seems to recall Trane the most.

Track Listing: You And I Are Disappearing; Ancestral Voyage-Mystery Succeed; Refracted Light And Grace; Blessing The Ride; Vignettes; Qualcosa Verso Azzurro; Occurrences, Places, Entities, And The Sea.

Personnel: Daniel Carter: alto saxophone; Reuben Radding: bass.

Title: Luminescence | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: AUM Fidelity

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