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 sax, tenor sax, baritone sax; Dwight Adams: trumpet-flugelhorn; D.D. Jackson: piano; James Genus: bass; Victor Lewis: drums; Rodney Jones: guitar; Eli Fountain: percussion.

Title: Present Tense | Year Released: 2008


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Unification CD/LP/Track Review Unification
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Crossing CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Unit[e] CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "Floa" CD/LP/Track Review Floa
by Phil Barnes
Published: July 23, 2016
Read "Atmosphères" CD/LP/Track Review Atmosphères
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 2, 2016
Read "Happiness!" CD/LP/Track Review Happiness!
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 3, 2017
Read "Tribute to Andrezej Przybielski Vol. 1" CD/LP/Track Review Tribute to Andrezej Przybielski Vol. 1
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 7, 2016
Read "All L.A. Band" CD/LP/Track Review All L.A. Band
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 4, 2016
Read "Quinsin Nachoff's Ethereal Trio" CD/LP/Track Review Quinsin Nachoff's Ethereal Trio
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 17, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.