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The James Carter Organ Trio at FlynnSpace

Read "The James Carter Organ Trio at FlynnSpace" reviewed by Doug Collette

The James Carter Organ Trio Flynn Center for the Performing Arts/FlynnSpace Burlington, VT February 22, 2014 There were no Motown tunes among the eclectic mix of material that the James Carter Organ Trio played during their early show at FlynnSpace, but shortly into their set, when the threesome hit their stride on a brisk and insistent improvisation during “Melodie Au Crepuscule," lines from Martha & The Vandellas' “Dancing in the Street' came to mind: ..."There'll ...

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James Carter Organ Trio: At The Crossroads

Read "James Carter Organ Trio: At The Crossroads" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

James Carter Organ Trio At the Crossroads Emarcy Records 2011 Jazz has many faces. Some are searching and expansive, like those of alto saxophonists Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane, seeking the outer edges of the music. Some are reverent and deferential, like the Modern Jazz Quartet and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, trying to lend respectability to the music borne in the whore houses of New Orleans' Storyville district. But like every family, ...

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James Carter Organ Trio: At The Crossroads

Read "At The Crossroads" reviewed by Troy Collins

A ubiquitous presence in the mid-1990s, saxophonist James Carter faded from the limelight when Atlantic Records disbanded its jazz department in 2000. Undeterred, Carter forged ahead, eventually signing with EmArcy Records in 2008, turning misfortune into opportunity. In addition to releasing Carter's engaging Present Tense the same year, the label also issued his long-awaited premiere of composer Roberto Sierra's “Concerto for Saxophones," featured on Caribbean Rhapsody (2011).Picking up where Atlantic left off, EmArcy continues to encourage Carter's stylistic ...

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James Carter Organ Trio: At The Crossroads

Read "At The Crossroads" reviewed by Mark F. Turner

No one brings more swagger and flavor with their playing than multi-reedman James Carter. A zealous nod to the blues, gospel, and jazz, he looks back to the music's rich history and presses onward in At the Crossroads with his organ trio including organist Gerard Gibbs and drummer Leonard King Jr., who have performed together for nearly ten years Carter has been sometimes criticized as being too loud and showy but he's a unequivocal virtuoso, with encyclopedic ...

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James Carter: Caribbean Rhapsody

Read "Caribbean Rhapsody" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Reconciling the improvisational nature of jazz with the semi-rigid confines of classical constructs like the concerto has never been easy. While concertos are meant to highlight a soloist, making this format seem like a perfect home in which a jazz instrumentalist can dwell, the oft-scripted nature of all parts involved, including the solo, works against one of the key principles in jazz: spontaneous composition. While James Carter's collaboration with composer Roberto Sierra should rightly be hailed for all of the ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

James Carter: Caribbean Rhapsody

Read "James Carter: Caribbean Rhapsody" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

James CarterCaribbean RhapsodyEmarcy2011 Multi-reedist James Carter is both a student and master of all things saxophone. He is a keeper of the jazz flame much in the same way trumpeter Wynton Marsalis is, without Marsalis' conservative inclinations. Carter has been inventive in his projects, two of which were the well-received Chasin' The Gypsy (Atlantic, 2000), addressing the music of guitarist Django Reinhardt, and Gardenias For Lady Day (Sony, 2003), tipping his ...

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Sphinx and Preacher: James Carter and the Odean Pope Saxophone Choir

Read "Sphinx and Preacher: James Carter and the Odean Pope Saxophone Choir" reviewed by Eric Benson

Odean Pope Saxophone Choir, featuring James Carter Blue Note New York, New York March 15, 2009 For the first thirty minutes of its set on Sunday night, the Odean Pope Saxophone Choir displayed its signature blend of precision and warmth, eight saxophones—nine when Pope stopped conducting and took up his axe—soaring and diving in unison like a well-built wooden rollercoaster. Pope's ensemble delivered a funky opener, a knotty tribute to Max Roach, and ...

INTERVIEWS

James Carter: Something Old, Something New

Read "James Carter: Something Old, Something New" reviewed by Matt Marshall

Multi-instrumentalist James Carter has always had eclectic tastes. That was evident on his debut, JC on the Set (Columbia, 1994), where the squeaks and blips linked him to the avant camp of Eric Dolphy and the tenor swoons nestled him comfortably within the traditional velvet of Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster.

Subsequent releases found him venturing further along each of those paths individually, splitting the new and the traditional like Proust taking Swann's Way (1913) and ...

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James Carter: Present Tense

Read "Present Tense" reviewed by Greg Camphire

Multi-reedist James Carter has been steadily chugging along as a master of many instruments and styles since his auspicious recording debut in the early '90s, often operating under the radar while maintaining a consistent commitment to quality performances.

With the release of Present Tense, Carter lets us know exactly where he's at with a well-paced collection of lyrical and concise statements, harvesting a deep sense of swing and letting his curious imagination roam free with the ...

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James Carter: Present Tense

Read "Present Tense" reviewed by Joel Roberts

Detroit-born James Carter burst on the New York jazz scene in the early 1990s and quickly established himself as a force to be reckoned with on the tenor saxophone and a host of other reed instruments. A technically advanced player with more than a touch of hip hop swagger, Carter stood apart from fellow Neo-traditionalist newcomers both with his superior chops and his flair for showmanship. Present Tense, produced by the legendary Michael Cuscuna, is really a ...

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James Carter: Present Tense

Read "Present Tense" reviewed by Frederick Bernas

James Carter may not yet be forty, but he possesses a degree of instrumental mastery which could easily be a lifetime's work. At different stages of this record, the versatile multi-instrumentalist plays tenor, soprano and baritone saxophones as well as flute and bass clarinet, all with equal power and precision.

This diverse approach to instrumental voicing is reflected in the range of material selected for Present Tense, Carter's first outing as a leader since 2005. From pacey post-bop inflections to ...

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James Carter: Present Tense

Read "Present Tense" reviewed by Troy Collins

Omnipresent in the late 1990s, James Carter's output has been erratic ever since Atlantic Records (his former label) dissolved their jazz department in 2000. A pleasing return to form, Present Tense is the poll-winning multi-instrumentalist's first recording in three years, ably produced by the renowned Michael Cuscuna, whose goal was to “capture the breadth of James' mastery of this music."

After a string of concept albums, including the electric free-funk of Layin' In The Cut (Atlantic, 2000), an ...


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