437

James Carter: Present Tense

Frederick Bernas By

Sign in to view read count
James Carter: Present Tense 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 silky Latin sensibilities and delicately nuanced ballad playing, it's all here. Producer Michael Cuscuna was keen to capture Carter's varied musical palette on a single disc, and by all evidence has done a fine job.

"Song of Delilah," an old favourite of Clifford Brown and Sonny Rollins, receives a modern hip-hop treatment from drummer Victor Lewis and bassist James Genus, and features Carter dueling with himself on two overdubbed tenor sax tracks. "Hymn of the Orient" is the record's unexpected gem, spotlighting Carter's baritone expertise and a series of lively interchanges with Lewis and Dwight Adams on trumpet. In terms of the leader's own writing, "Bro. Dolphy" is a composition of shifting moods and movements that climaxes with a furious face-off between trumpet and bass clarinet.

Carter has succeeded in assimilating the old school and simultaneously applying a contemporary personal touch to this great set of aptly chosen tunes. Trademark expressive, colorful solos are present for all to enjoy but despite occasional flamboyance, nothing ever sounds out of place: his improvisation is characterized by a wonderful coherence of thought, with ideas and motifs flowing effortlessly together in a way so many sax showmen struggle to grasp.

Present Tense may not go down in jazz history as a landmark recording, but it is an excellent CD which has done pleasing justice to the multi-dimensional talents of this modern master. James Carter's music is relentlessly fresh and enticing---remember the name.

Track Listing: Rapid Shave; Bro. Dolphy; Pour Que Ma Vie Demeure; Sussa Nita; Song of Delilah; Dodo's Bounce; Shadowy Sands; Hymn of the Orient; Bossa J.C.; Tenderly.

Personnel: James Carter: flute, bass clarinet, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone; Dwight Adams: trumpet, flugelhorn; D.D. Jackson: piano; Rodney Jones: guitar (4, 6, 9); James Genus: bass; Victor Lewis: drums; Eli Fountain: congas, percussion (4, 7, 9).

Year Released: 2008 | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read The Big Wig CD/LP/Track Review The Big Wig
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 24, 2017
Read The Dreamer Is the Dream CD/LP/Track Review The Dreamer Is the Dream
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 24, 2017
Read Bill Evans – Another Time: The Hilversum Concert CD/LP/Track Review Bill Evans – Another Time: The Hilversum Concert
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 24, 2017
Read The Failure of Words CD/LP/Track Review The Failure of Words
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 24, 2017
Read Groove Dreams CD/LP/Track Review Groove Dreams
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 23, 2017
Read Kami Fusen CD/LP/Track Review Kami Fusen
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 23, 2017
Read "Message In Motion" CD/LP/Track Review Message In Motion
by David A. Orthmann
Published: October 27, 2016
Read "Like, Strange" CD/LP/Track Review Like, Strange
by Troy Collins
Published: April 5, 2017
Read "Reunion – Live From Cafe Oto" CD/LP/Track Review Reunion – Live From Cafe Oto
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 5, 2017
Read "The Swimmer" CD/LP/Track Review The Swimmer
by Phil Barnes
Published: March 4, 2017
Read "Juxtaposition" CD/LP/Track Review Juxtaposition
by David A. Orthmann
Published: March 9, 2017
Read "Been Up So Long It Looks Like Down to Me: The Micros Play the Blues" CD/LP/Track Review Been Up So Long It Looks Like Down to Me: The Micros Play...
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 3, 2017
comments powered by Disqus

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, hide slide-outs, and provide read access to our future articles.

Buy it!