All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

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...


James Carney: Thread


Sign in to view read count
James Carney is a musical polyglot knowledgeable in various idioms, and he exploits this fluency on Thread. While his previous works featured formidable horn sections, Carney has scaled down to a trio this time, featuring Dan Morris on drums, while Todd Sickafoose and Dan Lutz share bass duties.

The disc opens with the first part of "Grassy Shoal Hoedown", which features a splendid dialogue between Carney and Morris that continues on the second part of the tune as Morris's restless percussion percolates beneath Carney's two-fisted flurries. The rhythm soothes, drives, and ultimately screams. "La Guerra Nueva" is a haunting ballad that has a moody, introspective opening by Carney. Lutz plucks a brief, understated solo that leads into a mid-tempo Latin groove, and the song ends with stunning abruptness. "Louisiana Raga" is an Indian/Cajun blend, its ominous undercurrent laid out at the top via a bowed solo by Lutz. "In the Years Since", the first of two improvisations by Carney, Harris and Sickafoose, finds the trio moving slowly and carefully in search of a connection; the other improv piece, "Politicking", is more sure of itself, with Morris whipping delicious licks off the rims of his snare. "Pearlblossom Heights" is a slow, flawless excursion into the kind of gated community occupied by Brad Meldhau.

Carney started comparatively late in jazz but his playing and composing have grown exponentially. He can play with the most delicate embroidery, unleash a torrent of notes, or employ spartan phrases tinged with Monkish mischief. As for his sidemen, Morris is an absolute whirlwind, and Lutz and Sickafoose provide solid underpinnings on the bass, confident in the moments when they move front and center.

The cover photo of Thread depicts a group of enraptured figures gazing at someone funambulating above them, an image which encapsulates the spirit of this inventive, rhythmically challenging, wonderfully diverse work. Carney invites us to join him on the tightrope. He knows it's not necessarily safe there, and that's the most compelling reason to take the chance.

Track Listing: 1. Grassy Shoal Hoedown, Pt. 1 2. Guerra Nueva 3. Louisiana Raga 4. In the Years Since 5. Politicking 6. Weird Vernacular 7. Pearblossom Heights 8. Grassy Shoal Hoedown, Pt. 2 9. Broken Spirit

Title: Thread | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Jacaranda


comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Ways & Means

Ways & Means

Songlines Recordings



Songlines Recordings





Related Articles

Read This City CD/LP/Track Review
This City
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 24, 2018
Read More Songs About Error And Shame CD/LP/Track Review
More Songs About Error And Shame
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 24, 2018
Read West Coast Trio CD/LP/Track Review
West Coast Trio
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: March 24, 2018
Read Sun Embassy CD/LP/Track Review
Sun Embassy
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 24, 2018
Read The Pocket Philharmonic Orchestra, Peter Stangel – Beethoven Revisited Symphonies 1-9 CD/LP/Track Review
The Pocket Philharmonic Orchestra, Peter Stangel –...
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 24, 2018
Read Lala Belu CD/LP/Track Review
Lala Belu
by Chris May
Published: March 23, 2018
Read "Heptagon" CD/LP/Track Review Heptagon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 23, 2017
Read "Live In Healdsburg" CD/LP/Track Review Live In Healdsburg
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 19, 2018
Read "Dreaming Spirits" CD/LP/Track Review Dreaming Spirits
by Kris Perdew
Published: October 27, 2017
Read "Ranky Tanky" CD/LP/Track Review Ranky Tanky
by James Nadal
Published: August 13, 2017
Read "3Divas" CD/LP/Track Review 3Divas
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 1, 2017
Read "A Thing Called Joe" CD/LP/Track Review A Thing Called Joe
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 7, 2017