All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Live Reviews

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

5

The James Carter Organ Trio at FlynnSpace

Doug Collette By

Sign in to view read count
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 be swingin' swayin' music playin..."

And surely Flynn artistic director Steve MacQueen was correct when he said the downstairs venue was the place to be this mid-winter evening in Burlington, VT. Saxophonist Carter and his comrades Gerard Gibbs on Hammond B3 organ and Leonard King on drums traversed a remarkable amount of ground in just ninety minutes, displaying dynamics in their choice of material so that the single set, beginning with "Nuages," flowed with as much detail as continuity. Bespeaking their decade together as a unit, the trio's playing was effortless, whether at a full gallop, in sultry Latin mode or on a modified blues. And oftentimes, during "Impromptu" to name just one interval, it was hard to believe the lineup was just three pieces.

Gibbs might well have been the star of the show. With more solo space and almost as much spotlight as the humble yet physically imposing leader, the keyboardist challenged the venue's sound system to accurately carry the heavy organ lines he played and all the more so the bass rhythms he conjured up with the pedals on his instrument. Particularly during "Anouman," by body language alone, Gibbs suggested he might well have relished this facet of his musicianship more than any other.

James Carter, of course, led the band, introducing all the material at the outset of the show and setting the pace and tone of the respective tunes even when counted off and intro'd by King. But for all his technical prowess, James Carter is a player smart enough to know when to bow out, when to step up and when to play short or long solos and phrases to highlight the nuance of a song. Needless to say, he invariably elevates the musicians around him—even those as talented and intuitive as these two partners of his—yet he never imposed his will unnecessarily or allowed his physical presence to overshadow his two band mates.

Thus it was that all three of the Organ Trio had a chance to exhibit their skills and their personality sans gaudy showmanship or technical display for its own sake. The soulful aspect of their connection as a group begged the question of how much rehearsal they really needed to play what the front man posited. Was material alternately new to them or reconfigured in their hands? The music must've sounded to the band as it sounded to the audience, because the capacity crowd responded to the players on the stage as they did to each other: with understated, knowing pleasure. Familiar strains at once reinvented and rediscovered in a refreshingly simple context climaxed with "Artillerie Lourde" which, like the rest of this initial set of two for the evening, sounded equally contemporary and traditional.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Detroit Jazz Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Detroit Jazz Festival 2018
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Beethoven, Barber and Vivaldi at The Jazz Corner Live Reviews
Beethoven, Barber and Vivaldi at The Jazz Corner
by Martin McFie
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Bryan Ferry at the Macedonian Philharmonic Hall, Macedonia 2018 Live Reviews
Bryan Ferry at the Macedonian Philharmonic Hall, Macedonia...
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 16, 2018
Read Live From Birmingham: Dinosaur, Meatraffle, Hollywood Vampires, Black Asteroids & Paul Lamb Live Reviews
Live From Birmingham: Dinosaur, Meatraffle, Hollywood...
by Martin Longley
Published: September 16, 2018
Read Binker & Moses At London's Jazz Cafe Live Reviews
Binker & Moses At London's Jazz Cafe
by Chris May
Published: September 15, 2018
Read 12 Points 2018 Live Reviews
12 Points 2018
by Ian Patterson
Published: September 14, 2018
Read "Monterey Jazz Festival 2017" Live Reviews Monterey Jazz Festival 2017
by Josef Woodard
Published: September 25, 2017
Read "Christian McBride and Tip City at Village Vanguard" Live Reviews Christian McBride and Tip City at Village Vanguard
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: December 5, 2017
Read "Instant Composers Pool at The MAC" Live Reviews Instant Composers Pool at The MAC
by Ian Patterson
Published: November 8, 2017
Read "Bill Laswell/Milford Graves/John Zorn at The Stone" Live Reviews Bill Laswell/Milford Graves/John Zorn at The Stone
by Tyran Grillo
Published: December 22, 2017
Read "Tallinn Music Week 2018" Live Reviews Tallinn Music Week 2018
by Henning Bolte
Published: April 19, 2018
Read "Edgefest 2017: Give the Drummers Some, Part 2-2" Live Reviews Edgefest 2017: Give the Drummers Some, Part 2-2
by Troy Dostert
Published: October 30, 2017