Learn How

Help improve All About Jazz

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. For $20, we'll hide those pesky Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

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 Umbrella Weather CD/LP/Track Review Umbrella Weather
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 24, 2017
Read Born In An Urban Ruin CD/LP/Track Review Born In An Urban Ruin
by John Sharpe
Published: January 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 24, 2017
Read Sanguinaria (Hopeful Songs) CD/LP/Track Review Sanguinaria (Hopeful Songs)
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 24, 2017
Read #knowingishalfthebattle CD/LP/Track Review #knowingishalfthebattle
by Mark F. Turner
Published: January 23, 2017
Read Live In Brooklyn CD/LP/Track Review Live In Brooklyn
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 23, 2017
Read "Quartet 1991" CD/LP/Track Review Quartet 1991
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 9, 2016
Read "Moments in Time" CD/LP/Track Review Moments in Time
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: July 7, 2016
Read "An Untroublesome Defencelessness" CD/LP/Track Review An Untroublesome Defencelessness
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 22, 2016
Read "Dameronia With Strings" CD/LP/Track Review Dameronia With Strings
by Jim Olin
Published: February 14, 2016
Read "Bye" CD/LP/Track Review Bye
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 30, 2016
Read "Waltz About Nothing" CD/LP/Track Review Waltz About Nothing
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 3, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Get Jazz Near You via email!

Enjoy the convenience of receiving a comprehensive listing of jazz events in your area every Thursday. It's free!