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James Carter

Rolf Kuhn (cl) James Carter (ts) Ingfried Hoffman (org) Volker Kriegel (g)
Johann Anton Rettenbacher (b) Stu Martin (d)

Hamburg, 1969 One way street
Soul baby
Kleiner Mann was nun
Wir zwei
Wie schon war' heut fur mich die Welt
Ein Tag ohne dich
Blue Sunday
Pour mes amis
Soul for Inga
It's the same old feeling -
* Rolf Kuhn Sextet Intercord (G)712-08U


Detroit, April 11, 1986 New spectrum too new spectrum BTSN Records B-2001
Kevin's beat know beat
Flute people
The creator
Disco 2000
Recording from young improvisers directed by Dr. Donald Washington, it includes five pieces, two from D. Washington. The first recording for firebrand saxophonist James Carter also features Koli Givens (tpt) and Cassius Richmond (fl/p). ~ Michael G. Nastos, All Music Guide

* Bird Trane Sco Now/BTSN Records B-2001

Spencer Barefield

James Carter (sop as ts contrabass-cl) A. Spencer Barefield (g,12 string-g,African harp) Richard Davis (b)
Tani Tabbal (trap-d,tabas,perc) string quartet on (1) only : Regina Carter, Tim Edwards
(vln) Marlene Rice (viola) Tim Holley (cello)

Michigan, February 12, 1990 Jumonji (jc out) Xenogenesis CD002 [CD]
A handful of fives
Ugly beauty -
Barbara thru the mirror world
Xenogenesis 2000
I Meiosis union
II. Metamorphosis -
III. Protoplast -
Invisible mysterious [Black indians] (jc out)
* Xenogenesis CD002 [CD]

Tough Young Tenors

Walter Blanding, Jr., James Carter (ts)Herb Harris (ts) Marcus Roberts (p) Reginald Veal (b)
Ben Riley (d)Todd Williams Tim Warfield

Alone together: New York, January 8-10, 1991
Jim Dog
Alone together
Chelsea bridge
The eternal triangle
*Tough Young Tenors Antilles 422-848767-2 [CD]

Lester Bowie

Lester Bowie's New York Organ Ensemble : Lester Bowie (tp, Steve Turre (tb) James Carter (ts)
Amina Claudine Myers (org,vcl) Famoudou Don Moye (d,perc-2) Phillip Wilson (d-1) replacing

Sonala Nobala DIW (Jap)821E [CD]
Angel eyes (1) Systems Two Studios Brooklyn, NY, January 14-16, 1991
The burglar
Guten morgen part II (1,2)
Ready Joe
Brooklyn works suite(1,2)
Flatbush Avenue
Organic echoes
Bell bottoms
Organic intellectual
Funky T DIW (Jap)853E [CD]
What's new
When the spirit returns
Cool T
Afternoon in Brooklyn
* The Organizer / Lester Bowie's New York Organ Ensemble DIW (Jap)821E [CD]
* F T. Cool T./ Lester Bowie's New York Organ Ensemble DIW (Jap)853E [CD]

Frank Lowe and the Saxemble

Carlos Ward-asx, fJames Carter-tsx, bsx, bass saxophone Frank Lowe-tsx, ssx
Michael Marcus-ssx, stritch, bsx, bass saxophone
Philip Wilson-d

War of the Worlds ITM Pacific 970062
Four Five + Six NYC April1991
Sandra's Dilemma
Inappropriate Choices
Melody for Melonae
El Haz Malik Shabazz
Fuchsia Norval
* Inappropriate Choices ITM Pacific 970062

Julius Hemphill

Julius Hemphill (as), Marty Ehrlich (sop,as,f) Carl Grubbs (sop,as) James Carter (ts: solo-1Track)
Andrew White (ts) Sam Furnace (bar,f),

Otis' groove - Black Saint (It)120115-2 [CD]
Lenny Sear Sound , NYC , July 15/16 ,1991
Four saints
Fat man
The answer
The hard blues
* The Fat Man And The Hard Blues Black Saint 120 115

Wendell Harrison

The Clarinet Ensemble and Sextet: Wendell Harrison, Paul Onachuk, Vincent York-cl Mark Berger-bcl
James Carter-cbclAlbert Duncan-tbn Ron English-Jaribu Shahid-b Danny Spencer-d

The Big Band: Wendell Harrison-cl [arr 2-3, 5-6]Vincent York-asx Ernie Rogers, George Benson-tsx James Carter-bsx
Marcus Belgrave, Rayse Biggs, John Trudell, Dwight Adams-tpt Albert Duncan, Vincent Chandler, Jimmy Wilkins-tbn
Brad Felt-tu Ron English-g Jaribu Shahid-b Danny Spencer-d
Andrew Daniels-perc Eddie Nucilli-cond [arr 1]Cassius Richmond-arr (4, 7)

same personnel

February 1992 Museum of African History Detroit, MI Tomorrow
Ring man
Sophisticated lady
This 1992 performance in Detroit's Museum of African-American history includes a big band and Clarinet Ensemble. Unique music, mostly modern, with three standards. — Michael G. Nastos
* Wendell Harrison: Live In Concert WenHa 190

James Carter

James Carter(as, ts, bs) Craig Taborn(p) Jaribu Shahid(b) Tani Tabbal(ds)

April 14-15, 1993 Sound on Sound NYC JC on the Set Sony CK 66149
Baby Girl Blues
Worried and Blue
Blues for a Nomadic Princess
Hour of Parting [
Sophisticated Lady
Twenty-five at the time of this CD, James Carter had already absorbed much of
the tradition. His debut as a leader includes compositions by the classic tenors
Don Byas and John Hardee, Duke Ellington's "Sophisticated Lady" and even a Sun
Ra ballad. He also shows that he has the courage to play completely outside
whenever it seems logical to him; in fact on the title cut Carter moves from
Gene Ammons and Illinois Jacquet to outbursts a la David Murray in the
stratosphere. But most importantly, at this early stage James Carter already had
his own sound. He switches between the tenor (his main ax) to alto and baritone,
shows self-restraint on the ballads and fills his improvisations with continual
surprises. Joined by the supportive pianist Craig Taborn, bassist Jaribu Shahid
and drummer Tani Tabbal, James Carter puts on quite a tour-de-force throughout
this very impressive set. — Scott Yanow
* JC On The Set /James Carter/Sony CK 66149

Julius Hemphill Sextet

Tim Berne(as) Marty Ehrlich, Sam Furnace(ss, as) James Carter, Andrew White(ts) Fred Ho(bs)

November 18-19, 1993 Sear Sound NYC Band Theme Black Saint 120 140
Mr. Critical "for Ornette"
Five Chord Stud
The Moat and the Bridge
Georgia Blue
Spiritual Chairs "for Bill T. Jones
Although altoist Julius Hemphill gets top billing on this CD, his heart surgery
in 1993 forced him to stop playing. However, this saxophone sextet was his
regular group; he contributed six of the eight compositions (the other two are
free improvisations) and the chancetaking heard throughout this adventurous
music definitely makes most of the performances sound like they came from a
Julius Hemphill recording even if his alto is missed. The sextet has a very
strong lineup (altoists Tim Berne, Marty Ehrlich and Sam Furnace, tenors James
Carter and Andrew White and baritonist Fred Ho) and the resulting CD contains
more than its share of variety. The music ranges from the soulful "Spiritual
Chairs" and a boppish "Band Theme" to introspective ballads and wild passionate
interplay. Other than Fred Ho (who is not heard from enough), each of the
players has their chance to star. The generally fascinating music rewards
repeated listenings but one has to have an open mind before putting it on. —
Scott Yanow

* Five Chord Stud / Black Saint 120 140

Jayne Cortez & The Firespitters

Jayne Cortez-voc Frank Lowe-tsx (1-4, 6) James Carter-bsx Bern Nix-g (1-4) Al MacDowell-b (1-4, 6)
Denardo Coleman-d, programming (1-4, 6)

[Carter does not appear on other tracks from this release]

Samba is Power Recorded February 22, 1994 and March 14, 1994 Recorded at Polarity, New York City
She Got He Got
Find Your Own Voice
I'm Gonna Shake
I Got the Blues
Cheerful Optimistic

* Cheerful & Optimistic

James Carter

James Carter(ss, as, ts) Craig Taborn(p) Jaribu Shahid(b) Tani Tabbal(ds)

Take the "A" Train Sony CK 67058
Out of Nowhere April 16-17, 1994 Power Station NYC
Ask Me Now
The young but already great saxophonist James Carter explores seven jazz
standards with pianist Craig Taborn (himself a young master capable of playing
in several styles), bassist Jaribu Shahid, and drummer Tani Tabbal. Among the
most versatile and knowledgeable of today's saxophonists, Carter draws on many
top stylists during these lengthy solos, yet always sounds quite individual. His
violent depiction of a train whistle on "Take the 'A' Train" perfectly launches
that romp, and he also really stretches out on "Epistrophy," plays the blues on
John Coltrane's "Equinox," and shows quite a bit of fire on "Oleo." A very
stimulating session. — Scott Yanow
* Jurassic Classics / James Carter/Sony CK 67058

James Carter

James Carter(ts, as, bs, bcl, b-fl) Craig Taborn(p) Dave Holland(b) Jaribu Shahid (b) Leon Parker(ds)
Tani Tabbal(ds)same personnel

Round Midnight Atlantic Jazz 82742
You Never Told Me That You Care October 6, 7, November 20, 1994 Power Station NYC
The Intimacy of My Woman's Beautiful Eyes
1944 Stomp
The Stevedore's Serenade
Born to be Blue
Deep Throat Blues
A Ballad for Doll
Despite this CD's title and a slight emphasis on ballads, this is not an
easy-listening record. James Carter, one of the great new discoveries of the
1990s (and whose versatility, brilliance on a variety of reed instruments and
seeming encyclopedic knowledge of jazz styles makes him a possible successor to
Rahsaan Roland Kirk) is heard playing tenor, alto, soprano, baritone, bass
clarinet and bass flute on the nine selections with the impressive pianist Craig
Taborn, either Dave Holland or Jaribu Shahid on bass and Leon Parker or Tani
Tabbal on drums. Although some of the ballad statements (such as his statements
on baritone on "'Round Midnight" and "Eventide") are fairly straightforward,
Carter also has some explosive moments. His rendition (on soprano) of Don Byas's
"1944 Stomp" is memorable as is his interpretations of "Born to Be Blue" and two
originals. The results are a bit restrained compared to his live performances,
but this is an enjoyable and unpredictable outing, music that will not be played
on the "Quiet Storm." — Scott Yanow
* The Real Quietstorm / James Carter/ Atlantic Jazz 82742

Wendell Harrison

Wendell Harrison (cl,ts,clave) James Carter (cb-cl) Ernie Rogers (cb-cl) Harold Orr (b-cl) Greg Koltyck (cl)
Paul Onachuck (cl) Ken Hobenstreet (cl) Harold McKinney (p) Pamela Wise (p) Marion Hayden (b)
Alex Brooks (ds) Enix Buchanan (ds) Jerry Gonzalez (timbl) Mahindi Masai (perc)

Rush & Hustle ENJA ENJ-9342 2
My Shining Hour Rebirth Studios, Detroit, October & November 1994
The Hooptie
Pamela's Holiday
Gonna Take You Out
Urban Lullaby [
Saga of a Carrot
This original Wen-Ha recording, independently released by Harrison, is now on a
major label. At last the world at large can hear this richly textured ensemble
which incorporates swinging syncopation or latin rhythms as the foundation for
five clarinetists (Ernie Rodgers, Harold Orr, Greg Koltyck, Paul Onachuck and
Ken Hobenstreet) to weave their orchestral tapestry while soloists Harrison and
the vaunted James Carter (on the monstrous contrbass clarinet) do their thing.
Some pretty stunning music is being made here by any criteria.
At its deepest recesses and most thoughtful space, the ensemble on "Pamela's
Holiday" with help from percussionist Mahindi Masai, doles out a modal
undercurrent grafted onto a light Afro-Cuban rhythm, and produces some
extraordinarily beautiful sounds. The title track swings with a fervor Bechet,
Goodman or DeFranco would stop and take notice at. "Gonna Take You Out" is a
jumpy kind of funk, while a nice latin flavor spices the lone standard "My
Shining Hour" arranged by Cassius Richmond. The most modern piece "The Hooptie"
shifts from brooding to optimistic with an ostinato bass, soaring melody, a bit
dank, but always head nodding, even in the tricky 5/4 time signature. A most
spiritual "Urban Lullabye" also sports a light tropical scent, and the closer, a
tenor sax driven "Saga Of A Carrot" is a hard samba stew that has a heavy, meat
and potatoes melody and some avant free segments.

Sounds this strong and full cannot be denied their place as a unique unto itself
entity amongst modern jazz ensembles. Harrison's imaginative music and
arrangements, with help from fellow Detroiters as pianist Pamela Wise and
bassist Marion Hayden in particular and the incendiary Carter for added heat,
establishes a tradition of its own. Others will simply have to follow to see if
they can go one up. — Michael G. Nastos
* Rush & Hustle / Wendell Harrison/ ENJA ENJ-9342 2 Wen-Ha230

Ronald Shannon Jackson And The Decoding Society

Ronald Shannon Jackson(ds, perc, fl, boschhorn) Jef Lee Johnson(g) James Carter(ss,ts) Ngolle Pokossi(b)

1994 Poland Christmas Woman Knitting Factory 3035
Front Seat Frisco
Night in Seville
Cameroon Morning
Seranade of Musician
Now's the Time
Christmas Woman
There is no questioning Ronald Shannon Jackson's abilities as a drummer and
composer, although his actual albums have tended to be somewhat erratic and
inconsistent. Such is the case with Live in Warsaw, a 1994 recording with James
Carter on saxophones, Jef Lee Johnson on electric guitar, and Ngolle Pokossi on
electric bass, although the album still has its merits. The problem lies mostly
with the excess of nebulous fade-ins and inconclusive fade-outs, one or the
other of which occurs on nearly every track. The actual sound quality is good
for a live recording, and the performances are often inspired. "Night in
Seville," which features a long coda for Johnson's flamenco-tinged guitar, does
meander a bit, but the R&B-flavored opener, "Christmas Woman," and the joyous,
Bo Diddley-evoking "Camaroon Wedding" are infectious. Unfortunately, the rug
gets pulled out from under each of the latter tunes by the aforementioned fades,
and these tracks are surrounded by some not-as-strong pieces that just don't
seem to go anywhere (see the murky disco-jazz of "Opinion's" [sic]). Not until
the swinging avant-blues take on Charlie Parker's "Now's the Time" and the
foot-stomping reprise of "Christmas Woman" does the band really get cooking.
These tracks, and Carter's honking, blues-drenched solos in particular, are
likely to have listeners calling for an encore and wishing the rest of the album
had been on such a high level. — William York
* Live In Warsaw/Ronald Shannon Jackson And The Decoding Society Knitting Factory 3035

Ronald Shannon Jackson And The Decoding Society

Ronald Shannon Jackson(ds, perc, fl, boschhorn) Jef Lee Johnson(g) James Carter(ss,ts)
Ngolle Pokossi(b) Martin Atangana(g)

What Spirit Say December 11-12, 1994 at the Power Station, New York City
Terminal B
Cameroon Morning
Aged Pain
Sorcerer's Kitchen [3:22]
a. Abed Nego
b. Ode to Hieronymus
c. Horus March
Serenade for Magicians
A Night in Seville
Front Seat Frisco
Now's the time
Missing Link
* What Spirit Say/Ronald Shannon Jackson And The Decoding Society

James Carter & Cyrus Chestnut

James Carter-tsx, ssx, bcl Cyrus Chestnut-p

The Stevedore' s Serenade Atlantic (promotional) PRCD 6250
Sentimentalia March 14,1995 NYC
A Rare Gem
The Intimacy of My Woman's Beautiful Eyes
Call Me Later
Deep Throat Blues

*Duets Atlantic (promotional) PRCD 6250 (Never Released)

Kansas City Soundtrack

Olu Dara(cor) Nicholas Payton(tp) James Zollar(tp) Don Byron(cl,b-cl) Jesse Davis (as) David Newman(as)
James Carter(ts,bs-8tracks) Craig Handy(ts) Joshua Redman(ts) David Murray(ts) Clark Gayton(tb) Curtis Fowlkes(tb)
Russell Malone(g) Mark Whitfield(g) Geri Allen(p) Cyrus Chestnut(p)
Ron Carter(b) Christian McBride (b) Tyrone Clark(b) Victor Lewis(ds) Kevin Mahogany(vo) Butch Morris(cond)

May 11-22, 1995 "Hey Hey Club"Kansas City, MO Blues in the Dark Verve 314 529 554
Moten Swing
I Surrender Dear
Queer Notions
Lullaby of the Leaves
I Left My Baby
Yeah Man
Froggy Bottom
Pagin' the Devil
Solitude (reprise)
St. Louis Blues Verve 537 322

Harvard Blues
Prince of Wails
Froggy Bottom
Piano Boogie
King Porter Stomp
Tickle Toe
*Kansas City (soundtrack)Verve 314 529 554
*KC After Dark / Kansas City Band Verve 537 322


James Carter (as ts bar) Cassius Richmond (as) Frank Lowe, Bobby LaVell (ts) Alex Harding (bar)
Michael Marcus (manzello,bassax) Cindy Blackman (d)

Sound on Sound NYC May 12, 13 & 21, 1995 Hard times Qwest/Warner Bros. 9-46181-2
Freedom jazz dance
War of the worlds
Monk's mood
In walked J.C.
Honkin' fats
Lowe down & blue
This very interesting release features a saxophone sextet (Frank Lowe on tenor,
Michael Marcus doubling on manzello and bass sax, altoist Cassius Richmond,
baritonist Alex Harding, Bobby LaVell on tenor, and most notably James Carter on
alto, tenor and baritone) plus drummer Cindy Blackman; there is no need for
piano, guitar or bass. The personnel changes on most selections, and the full
group only appears on the last two songs, but all of the musicians have plenty
of space in which to react to each other. The repertoire is quite inspired,
mixing originals with "Hard Times" (made famous by David "Fathead" Newman in the
late 1950s), Albert Ayler's "Ghosts," "Monk's Mood," and a medley of "Freedom
Jazz Dance" and "Rhythm-A-Ning." The music could be called souful free jazz, for
the musicians show plenty of emotion in their improvising (particularly the
amazing Carter) yet are not shy of playing melodically when inspired. The use of
baritone and bass sax makes the absence of a rhythm section (outside of
Blackman's drums) barely noticeable. Well worth exploring and listening to
several times. — Scott Yanow
* Saxemble Qwest 46181

Rodney Whitaker

Nicholas Payton, Wallace Roney (tp) Cassius Richmond ( James Carter (ts) Alex Harding (bar)
Cyrus Chestnut, Geri Allen (p) Rodney Whitaker (b) Karriem Riggins, Gregory Hutchinson (d)
Andrew Daniels II (perc)

Power Station New York, September 13 & 14, 1995 Children of the Light DIW (Jap)DIW-907 [CD]
Mandela's muse
One silent moment
On Green Dolphin Street
Woman child
Mood swings
Queen Roz
Children of the light -
El morro
Cultural warrior
For his debut as leader, Whitaker takes center stage on several melodies and
solos frequently. His playing is well-rounded in every respect, and he has a
supple, sleek, strong tone. His core group for this outing consists of James
Carter (tenor sax), Cassius Richmond (flute), Wallace Roney and Nicholas Payton
(trumpet), Cyrus Chestnut (piano), Karriem Riggins and Gregory Hutchinson
(drums), and Andrew Daniels (percussion); pianist Geri Allen and baritone
saxophonist Alex Harding make cameo appearances. Three of the 11 tracks were
penned by Whitaker — the bass/percussion workout "Woman Child," the jungly
"(Queen) Roz," and the crackling "Langman." Ken Cox's triumphant melody for
Nelson Mandela, "Mandela's Mood," is a highlight, featuring bright melodies and
Afro-Cuban underpinnings. Everyone solos on this piece, but it's Carter's
histrionics that really provide the exclamation point. There are two hard
boppers — a version of "Broadway" featuring a path-clearing solo by Carter, and
Richmond's "Mood Swings," which finds Carter and Roney acting like Wayne Shorter
and Miles Davis. The title track features Payton's plaintive head statement and
Chestnut's fervid solo. Whitaker's wife, Monzola, contributes the soft "One
Silent Moment," while Roney lights things up for "On Dolphin Street." Allen
waxes poetic beneath a bed of exotic, subtle rhythms on "El Morro," and the
finale, "Cultural Warrior," is languid and solemn. Whitaker shows a grand
diversity on this complete package of modern jazz. Highly recommended. — Michael
G. Nastos
* Children of the Light DIW (Jap)DIW-907 [CD]

Kathleen Battle: September 1995
Tom Harrell-flg Grover Washington, Jr.-ssx (2) Antonio Hart-asx James Carter-bcl (8)
Marlon Graves-g, perc Romero Lubambo-g Cyrus Chestnut-p (10) Ira Coleman-b
Christian McBride-b Cyro Baptista-perc Steve Berrios-perc Kathleen Battle-voc

Going Home Sony 68473

So Many Stars Sony 68473

Madeleine Peyroux

Madeleine Peyroux (vo, g) Marcus Printup (tp) Regina Carter (vl)
James Carter (ts, b-cl : 3tracks) Marc Ribot (g, bjo) Vernon Reid, Larry Saltzman (g) Cyrus Chestnut (p)
Charlie Giordano (key) Greg Cohen (b, mar) Steve Kirby (b) Kenny Wollison (ds, perc) Leon Parker (ds)

RPM Studios,NYC and Kampo Studios,NYC, Prov 1995 Dreamland
Atlantic 82946-2 [CD]
Walkin' after midnight -
I'm gonna sit right down and write myself a letter -
Muddy water
Madeleine Peyroux made a bit of a stir in 1996 due to her voice sounding
remarkably close at times to Billie Holiday. This wide-ranging set features
Peyroux singing swing standards, originals and tunes that hint at country and
folk music. Her supporting cast, which changes on each selection, includes a
restrained James Carter on tenor and bass clarinet, Marc Ribot on dobro and
guitar, trumpeter Marcus Printup, pianist Cyrus Chestnut and violinist Regina
Carter, among others. A very interesting release which, despite the derivative
nature of Peyroux's voice, is full of surprises. Highlights include "Walkin'
After Midnight," "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter," "La Vie
En Rose" and "Muddy Water." — Scott Yanow
* Dreamland / Madeleine Peyroux Atlantic 82916 (1996)

James Catrer

Lester Bowie(tp) Harry "Sweets" Edison(tp) Larry Smith(as) Buddy Tate(cl, ts)
James Carter(as, ts, bs, bcl) Hamiet Bluiett(bs) Craig Taborn(p) Jaribu Shihad(b) Tani Tabbal(ds)same personnel

October 2, 1995 (1, 9)January 30, 1996 (3, 5-6, 8)February 5, 1996 (2, 4, 7)Power Station NYC FreeReggaeHiBop Atlantic Jazz 82908
Parker's Mood
Lester Leaps In
Blue Creek
Composition #40Q
Moten Swing
Atitled Valse
The brilliant saxophonist James Carter and his quartet (which also includes
pianist Craig Taborn, bassist Jaribu Shahid and drummer Tani Tabbal) welcome
some of Carter's musical heroes as guests throughout this CD. Carter matches
wits with the eccentric trumpeter Lester Bowie on "Freereggaehibop" and the
often-hilarious "Atitled Valse"; he also features the legendary (but rarely
recorded) Detroit altoist Larry Smith on "Parker's Mood," showcases Count Basie
veterans Harry "Sweets" Edison and Buddy Tate on two swing standards apiece
(Tate's work on clarinet during "Blue Creek" is memorable), and interacts with
baritonist Hamiet Bluiett on "Naima" and an Anthony Braxton march. Switching
between tenor, alto, baritone and bass clarinet, Carter makes each of his guests
feel at home while pushing them to stretch themselves. A consistently colorful
and generally swing-oriented set. — Scott Yanow
* Conversation' With The Elders / James Carter Atlantic Jazz 82908

Benny Golson

Benny Golson, Branford Marsalis, James Carter, Harold Ashby(ts) Geoff Keezer(p)
Dwayne Burno(b) Joe Farnsworth(ds)

New York , January 29/30 , 1996 Lester Leaps In
Body and Soul
St. Thomas
Cry Me a River
My Favorite Things
Whisper Not
Girl From Ipanema
My Old Flame
Lover, Come Back to Me
In Memory Of (Golson)
On this enjoyable set, veteran tenor saxophonist Benny Golson pays tribute to nine other tenors: Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, John Coltrane, Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Ben Webster, and Don Byas. On "Body & Soul," Branford Marsalis joins Golson, three songs have James Carter making the quartet a two-tenor quintet, Harold Ashby is on four others, "Lester Leaps In" has Golson interacting with both Carter and Ashby, and Golson is the only tenor on the closing "In Memory Of." While each of the saxophonists is in fine form, Carter's fiery style is a perfect contrast to Golson's cooler but explorative playing. With pianist Geoff Keezer, bassist Dwayne Burno, and drummer Joe Farnsworth swinging the tunes (all but "In Memory Of" are standards), Golson sounds quite inspired by the settings. This is one of his strongest all-round sessions of the 1990s. — Scott Yanow
* Tenor Legacy / Benny Golson Tenor Summit

Rodney Whitaker

Dwight Adams(tp) Marcus Belgrave(tp) Ron Blake(ss,ts) James Carter (ss,ts-5tracks)
Gerald Cleaver(ds) Gregory Hutchinson(ds) Mark Hynes (ss) Peter Martin(p) Cassius Richmond(as,fl)
Karriem Riggins(ds) Rick Roe(p) Rodney Whitaker(b)

New York, September 16 & October 2, 1996 Childhood (1,3) DIW (Jap)DIW-929 [CD]
Blues in the closet (2,3,4,7)
Repentance (2,4,6)
Mastery through love (2,3,4,5,7)
Pilgrim progress (1,3)
First impressions (2,3,4,7)
The child in the womb (1)
Hidden kingdom (1,3)
Open hit [D.W.] (4,6)
The promise of you (lk vcl,1,3)
On his second CD as a leader, Rodney Whittaker is joined by a rotating cast of
Detroit's best jazz players and other guests for a program of original
compositions by the group's members and one jazz classic, with Whittaker's
big-toned bass anchoring the proceedings. Sax superstar James Carter guest stars
on five of the ten selections, with his swing-based tone and cutting edge
tendencies, although he is more restrained here than on his own recordings.
Favorites include Whittaker's "Childhood," a multi-tempo composition that
features an excellent alto sax solo by Cassius Richmond and an exciting
trumpet-tenor duel between Dwight Adams and Ron Blake; a joyous romp on Oscar
Pettiford's "Blues in the Closet"; Richmond's multi-themed and multi-tempo
"First Impressions"; and Whittaker's lovely ballad "The Child in the Womb."
Whittaker's bass playing and composing establish him as one to watch in the
future. — Greg Turner
* Hidden Kingdom /Rodney Whitaker DIW (Jap)DIW-929 [CD]

DD Jackson

Billy Bang-vln (9)Hugh Ragin-tpt (2, 5-6)James Carter-C melody saxophone (1), tsx (3)
David Murray-tsx (10)Hamiet Bluiett-bsx (8)
D.D. Jackson-pSanti DeBriano-b (4) November 30, December 1-2, 1996 Sound on Sound NYC

Sound on Sound Studio, NYC,November 30,December 1/2 , 1996 Rythmn And Things Justin Time 99
Ballad for Miles [Hugh Ragin]
Fanfare and Fiesta [Hugh Ragin]
Subliminal Messages
African Dreams
For Don
Bang's Dream
During a three-day period, pianist D.D. Jackson recorded a series of duets with some of his favorite musicians; the results are two colorful and diverse CDs that are full of variety, adventure, and a bit of humor. Vol. 1 features the percussive Jackson in collaborations with tenor and C-melody saxophonist James Carter (who borders on the hilarious during "Rhythm and Things"), the talented if underrated trumpeter Hugh Ragin, bassist Santi Debriano, baritonist Hamiet Bluiett, violinist Billy Bang, and tenor saxophonist David Murray. All of the ten selections (except for two by the trumpeter) are Jackson originals. Although the second CD is also well worth getting, the first disc gets the edge due to the particularly fine playing of Carter and Ragin. An intriguing set that grows in interest with each listening. — Scott Yanow

* Paired Down Vol. 1 D.D. Jackson-Justin Time 99

Bluiett Baritone Saxophone Group

Hamiet Bluiett(bs) Ronnie Burrage(ds) James Carter(bs) Alex Harding(bs) Patience Higgins(bs)

The Knitting Factory,June 1997 Opening Statement Knitting Factory 217
A's Song
K.M.A. /Q.B
Pit Stop
Discussion Amongst Friends
Low Down Blues
Neck Bones
J.B.'s Groove
JFour baritone saxophones supported by the smart drumming of Ronnie Burrage on
this recording. The baritone saxophone range is wonderful for experimentation.
The instrument can clearly reach the sonorous tones and up in to a near-piercing
range. The saxophones come at the listener singly or in groups, making free-jazz
statements. A melodic phrase can easily give way to a rhythmic squawking before
diving back into a spontaneous theme. Leading the Bluiett Baritone Saxophone
Group is World Saxophone Quartet leader Hamiet Bluiett. (The other horn players
are James Carter, Alex Harding and Patience Higgins.) He takes his mid- to
low-range group through an intelligent contention, an energetic debate on the
substance of each of the 11 tracks. For the variety contained herein, compare
the sad yearning in "A's Song" with the funk scat on "K.M.A./Q.B." and
cacophonous conversation in "Neck Bones." — Thomas Schulte
* Live At The Knitting Factory/Knitting Factory 217

Bluiett Baritone Nation

same personnel

Montreal International Jazz Festival 1997 Libation for a Baritone Saxophone Nation
Discussion Among Friends
Settegast Strut
Underwater Birth
J.B. Groove
This unusual four-sax combo honks to high heaven on this live disc. But only horn fans of the deepest hue need apply. The squonk and bratt of horn syncopations like "Discussion Among Friends" are a bit grating after a time. — Tim Sheridan
* Libation For The Baritone Saxophone Nation/Justin Time 8470-2

Cyrus Chestnut

Cyrus Chestnut(p) Ron Carter(b) Lewis Nash(ds) Anita Baker(vo) Billy Higgins(ds) Joe Lovano(ts)
James Carter(ts-3tracks)

Sept 15 1998 Miss Thing performed by Chestnut / James Carter
Summertime performed by Chestnut / Anita Baker
The Journey performed by Chestnut / James Carter
Elegant Flower
Nutman's Invention #2
My Favorite Things
Any Way You Can performed by Chestnut / Joe Lovano -
Mother's Blues
Great Is Thy Faithfulness
Strolling in Central Park
Sharp performed by Chestnut / James Carter / Joe Lovano
Joined by several important guests, Cyrus Chestnut proves once again that he is among the brightest, post-bop players of his generation. For this effort, his base trio includes legends Ron Carter on bass and Billy Higgins on drums. Joining them are all-stars Lewis Nash (drums on two tracks), James Carter (alto on three tracks), Joe Lovano (tenor sax on two tracks), and two significant appearances by vocalist Anita Baker. This album is very good as well as very solid, with no tracks that clearly stand above the rest. Nash and Baker appear together on the album's only two standards: the slow, sexy "Summertime" and the bright, scat-filled "My Favorite Things." Carter's virtuoistic brilliance dominates "Miss Thing" and "The Journey." Lovano contributes his unique intensity to "Any Way You Can" and joins Carter for the impressive two-horned workout, "Sharp." As for the leader, he continues to demonstrate the rare ability to generate soul from the percussive piano. Though his versatility and technical facility is plainly evident, it is this emotional gift which sets him apart. He can play loud and fast; he has developed a lighter, more delicate touch on the ballads; he imparts elements of both blues and gospel in his sound; and he writes his own music. Cyrus Chestnut is recommended - the album and the musician. — Brian Bartolini
* Cyrus Chestnut-Atlantic 83140

James Carter

James Carter(ts, ss, bs, bcl) Cassius Richmond (as) Dwight Adams (tp) Kevin Carter (g)
Craig Taborn(org) Henry Butler(org) Cyrus Chestnut(org) Jaribu Shahid(b,el-b) Steve Kirby(b)
Tani Tabbal(ds) Leonard King(ds) Alvester Garnett(ds)

1998 Avatar Studios NYC Lianmo Atlantic Jazz 83082
Down to the River
Don's Idea
Skull Grabbin'
Trouble in the Wind
Escape from Bizarro World
Frisco Follies
Lockjaw's Lament
In Carterian Fashion
ames Carter is the Arturo Sandoval of the reeds, a remarkable virtuoso who can
seemingly do anything he wants on his horns. It is just a matter of time passing
and the accomplishments accumulating before Carter is thought of as one of the
all-time greats. This particular CD differs from his earlier ones in that Carter
(who switches between tenor, soprano, baritone sax and bass clarinet) is joined
by one of three organists (Henry Butler, Cyrus Chestnut and his regular pianist
Craig Taborn) instead of piano, which of course changes the sound of the
ensembles. However, only a few of the songs come across as Jimmy Smith-style
soul-jazz. Carter stretches from bluesy tunes to Don Byas' swinging mid-'40s
romp "Don's Idea," and some avant-garde explorations, and a few strong hints at
Rahsaan Roland Kirk (particularly on the soprano feature "Trouble in the World")
and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis. Trumpeter Dwight Adams sounds fine during his four
appearances, particularly when trading off with Carter on "Don's Idea," and
altoist Cassius Richmond (who is on three of the trumpet pieces) is also
excellent. However, the dominant voice throughout is James Carter, who in
general is a little more restrained, which makes his fiery explosions and
colorful tonal distortions really stand out. Recommended. — Scott Yanow
*In Carterian Fashion / James Carter/Atlantic Jazz 83082

Herbie Hancock

Herbie Hancock(p,org) Cheik Mbaye (perc) Eddie Henderson (tp) Kenny Garrett (as)
James Carter(ts,ss-2tracks) Ira Coleman (b) Terri Lyne Carrington (ds) Joni Mitchell (vo)
Wayne Shorter(ts,ss) Marlon Graves(g,perc) Cyro Baptista (perc) Stevie Wonder(vo,harmoni) Charles Curtis (cello)

NYC , April , 1998
Los Angels , June , 1998 Overture (Fascinating Rhythm)
It Ain't Necessarily So
The Man I Love
Here Come de Honey Man
St. Louis Blues
Blueberry Rhyme
It Ain't Necessarily So (Interlude)
Cotton Tail
My Man's Gone Now
Prelude in C Sharp Minor
Concerto For Piano And Orchestra In G, 2nd (Ravel)
Embraceable You

*Gershwin's World / Herbie Hancock/Verve 557797

James Carter

James Carter (bs,ts,f-mezzo,ss) Regina Carter(vl) Jay Berliner(steel-g) Romero Lubambo(nylon-g)
Cyro Baptista (perc) Joey Baron(ds) Steve Kirby(b) Charlie Giodano(accord)

Nuages Atlantic 83304
a Derniére Bergére (The Last Shepherdess) Avatar Studio , NYC 2000
Manoir de Mes Reves/Django's Castle
Artillerie Lourde
Chasin' the Gypsy
Oriental Shuffle
I'll Never Be the Same
Imari's Lullaby
James Carter celebrated 2000 by putting out two vastly different albums at the same time, an amazing concession from a major label for a jazz artist who doesn't sell in Kenny G-like proportions. Chasin' the Gypsy, as you might guess, is an homage to Django Reinhardt, whose music Carter used to dig on Detroit radio when he was a teenager, but Carter doesn't take the predictable reverent path in paying his respects. He rummages through his closet and pulls out a rarely used bass saxophone on three cuts — the bumpy sounds are often comic yet a comfortable fit for his antic style — and even tries out an F mezzo sax on the exotically relaxed "Oriental Shuffle." Back on tenor, Carter's slippery playing often doesn't hesitate to approach the outside; he keeps his sense of humor and his individual quirks intact. Most of the tunes are Django's yet the one that comes closest to evoking the frantic Hot Club Quintette drive is Carter's own title track, a madcap chase indeed with Carter on wild soprano sax this time. A nostalgic accordion underpins the tango-like "Nuages" á la Piazzolla; violinist Regina Carter provides the Stephane Grappelli-like foil on a few tracks (she does all right but could be a bit looser); and Jay Berliner and Romero Lubambo occasionally summon the ghost of Django with their respectively steel and nylon-stringed solo and rhythm guitar work. Mostly, this is a delightful departure for Carter, though probably destined to be a one-off excursion. — Richard S. Ginell
* Chasin' The Gypsy /James Carter-Atlantic 83304

James Carter

James Carter(saxs) Jef Lee Johnson(g) Marc Ribot(g) Jamaaladeen Tacuma(bb-g) Calvin Weston(ds)

Layin' in the Cut Atlantic 83305
Motown Mash Magic Shop ,NYC 2000
Requiem for Hartford Ave.
Terminal B
Drafedelic in DB
There's a Paddle
The second of James Carter's pair of 2000 releases shifts wildly, and perhaps trendily, toward electric funk, as the title cut proclaims within seconds. It's really a loose, collective electric jam session with all of the risks, occasional hot streaks, and passages of torpor that the term implies. Oddly enough, the tracks that really make it are those that are credited to only one composer: guitarist Jef Lee Johnson's stimulating Prime Time-like melee, "Terminal 8," that gathers momentum like a freight train; Carter's cooking "There's a Puddle" that explodes into a freeform burst on cue at the end; and Carter's "GP." The collectively credited pieces are the ones that tend to go nowhere, often desperately in need of editing or clear direction. At all times, though, Carter is a freewheeling dynamo on soprano and tenor saxes, not afraid to reach wildly to the outside even when the funk backgrounds are merely mild mannered. Carter draws from the New York City avant-garde scene for help: Marc Ribot is the other electric guitarist, Jamaaladeen Tacuma plays bass, and the volatile drummer G. Calvin Weston tries with partial success to mix things up. Carter says that he intends to pursue this direction in the future — with hopefully less diffuse results. — Richard S. Ginell
* Layin' In The Cut / James Carter Atlantic 83305

Christian McBride

Christian McBride(b,fender) Ron Blake (ss,ts) Shedrick Mitchell(p,fender) Rodney Green(ds) Herbie Hancock (p)
Diane Reeves(vo) Toots Thielemans (harmon) James Carter (b-cl,2tracks) David Gilmore(g)

Avatar Studio , NYC , February 10-12 ,2000 Aja Verve 543915
Uhura's Moment Returned
Lullaby for a Ladybug
Science Fiction
Walking on the Moon
I Guess I'll Have to Forget
Butterfly Dreams
Via Mwandishi
The Sci-Fi Outro
On a large scale, there is no denying that music can move masses of people to
assert themselves and establish a particular vision that will benefit many for
years to come. With the release of Sci-Fi, the highly acclaimed bassist
Christian McBride has established another great realm of music for his fans to
explore. Accompanied by the dynamic Ron Blake on tenor and soprano sax, Shedrick
Mitchell on piano and Fender Rhodes, the great Herbie Hancock on piano, Rodney
Green on drums, David Gilmore on electric and acoustic guitar, Dianne Reeves
giving great vocalese on "Lullaby for a Ladybug," James Carter on bass clarinet,
and the exciting Toots Thielemans on harmonica, listeners will soon discover
that the jazz galaxy will never be the same. The acoustic fusion and thematic
sound concept for the CD settled in after McBride wrote "Science Fiction" and
discovered it made a great nucleus for the CD. Featured selections include
McBride's brilliant arrangements of masterworks by Stanley Clarke, Sting, Jaco
Pastorius, and Steely Dan as well as seven original compositions by the
versatile leader. Flawless piano grace from Herbie Hancock on "Xerxes" and
"Lullaby for a Ladybug" and McBride's Fender Rhodes work throughout is a listen
to behold. Particularly, the conversation between McBride's double bass and
Carter's bass clarinet on "Walking on the Moon" shouldn't be missed. Sci-Fi is a
seminal work by seminal artists and may very well be considered one of the most
essential jazz recordings of the 21st century. — Paula Edelstein
* SCI-FI / Christian McBride- Verve 543915

Regina Carter

Regina Carter(vl) Werner "Vana" Gierig (p) Darryl Hall(b) Alvester Garnett (ds) Mayra Casales (perc)
Marcus Belgrave (tp,flh) James Carter (bs,ts-2tracks) Barry Harris (p) Russell Malone (g) Lewis Nash (ds)

Recorded April 19, 20, 21 and 25, 2000 at Avatar Studios, New York Don't Git Sassy Verve 3145439272
Don't Mess With Mister T.
For Someone I Love
Forever February
Higher Ground
Love Theme from Spartacus (North)
Fukai Aijo
Chattanooga Choo Choo
Up South
Two years after her stunning debut on Verve, violinist Regina Carter offers
listeners her exceptional string virtuosity on ten great songs inspired by her
hometown of Detroit, Michigan. Motor City Moments features a stellar collection
of songs written by some of the best musicians from Detroit including Marvin
Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Thad Jones, and Milt Jackson. Regina Carter applies her
pure skill, pizzicato, and arco passages to "Don't Mess With Mr. T" and "Higher
Ground" with impeccable tuning and multiple approaches. Her string virtuosity on
Milt Jackson's "For Someone I Love," is a masterful performance backed adeptly
by Mayra Casales on percussion and spotlights a brilliant piano solo by Werner
"Vana" Gierig. Two originals, "Forever February" and "Up South," which was
co-written with guitarist Russell Malone, provide an interesting contrast of the
artist's use of reflective temperament and folk-ornamented cadences. Each song
also emphasizes Carter's adept techniques with melodic phrasing and song forms.
Accompanied by her touring band of Daryl Hall on bass, Alvester Garnett on
drums, percussionist Mayra Casales, Marcus Belgrave on trumpet and flugelhorn,
James Carter on bass clarinet and tenor sax, Barry Harris on piano, Lewis Nash,
as well as several special guests, Regina Carter has rapidly become one of the
most exciting and original violinists to arrive on the jazz scene. — Paula
* Motor City Moments / Regina Carter/Verve 3145439272

Marcus Miller

Marcus Miller (b) Bernard Wright(fender) David Isaac (water EFX) Larry Corbett(cello) Matthew Funes (viol)
Joel Derouin(vl) Hubert Laws(fl) Lenny White (brush fills) Leroy "Scooter" Taylor(b) Michael Stewart(tp)
Herbie Hancock(p) Paul Jackson Jr.(g) Mino Cinelu (perc) Hiram Bullock(g) Fred Wesley(tb) Vinnie Colaiuta,Poogie Bell(ds)
Chaka Kahn, Djavan ,Raphael Saddiq ,Nikki Miller(vo) James Carter ,
Branford Marsalis, Kenny Garrett, Wayne Shorter, Maceo Parker(saxs)same personnel

Hannival Studio ,Santa Monica ,CA, Power Dreyfus 36623
Lonnie's Lament
Nikki's Groove (Miller)
Goodbye Pork Pie Hat
Ozell (Interlude 1)
Burning Down the House
It's Me Again
Cousin John
Ozell (Interlude 2)
3 Deuces
Red Baron
Ozell (Interlude 3)
Your Amazing Grace

*M2 /Marcus Miller /Dreyfus 36623

Hamiet Bluiett

Hamiet Bluiett(bs) James Carter(bs,b-cl) Kahil El'Zabar(perc,vo) Alex Harding(bs,b-cl) Patience Higgins(bs,b-cl)
Lee Person(trap) Coleridge-Taylor Perinson(comp,arr)same personnel

Studio Tempo,January 13-15,2001 (You're Still) My Girl (In Spite of... Justin Time 158-2
Blueblack/Prelude to a Scream
LG's Place
Lamentation for JJ/Ballad for Babs
Gittin' It Good
The Here and Now
The Bluiett Baritone Saxophone Group strikes again. Four baritone saxes make for quite a wall of low-register sound, and every quartet member but Bluiett — Patience Higgins, James Carter, and Alex Harding — doubles on bass clarinet. In Carter's case, make that contra-bass clarinet, an instrument that can cause the room to shake. Since the horns have the bass function covered, all that's needed are drums; hence the presence of trapsman Lee Person and percussionist Kahil El'Zabar. This is a challenging listen, even if it starts with a playful, lushly harmonized "My Girl," the Motown hit. "Humpback," the first of five compositions by Coleridge Taylor Perkinson, immediately follows, its dark, smeary rubato harmonies and ultra-low-end textures evoking the murky world of the whale. Bluiett's contributions ("Blueblack/Prelude to a Scream," "Juxtaposition," "Sasa — The Here and Now") tend to be more cacophonous, less structured; other tracks evoke a bright dance aesthetic ("Zippin'," "LG's Place"), touching upon what the late Lester Bowie liked to call "great black music." Taylor Perkinson's double tribute "Lamentation for JJ/Ballad for Babs" and his thoughtful "Angles" showcase the more elegant side of the quadruple-baritone configuration. — David R. Adler
* Blue Black/Bluiett Baritone Nation Justin Time 158-2

Cyrus Chestnut

Cyrus Chestnut(p) Christian McBride(b) Lewis Nash(ds) Stefon Harris(vib) Wycliffe Gordon(tb) Marcus Printup(tp)
Gary Bartz(as) James Carter(ts-3tracks)

Avatar Studios , NYC , June 16-19 , 2001 Soul Food (Chestnut) - 8:40 Atlantic 83490
Brother With the Mint Green Vine
Cerebral Thoughts
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
Brother Hawky Hawk
Minor Funk
Coming Through the Rye
In the Underground
One thing one can say about this popular swinging trad jazz pianist — he's
definitely not selfish when it comes to passing the musical soul food around.
The punchy, heavy-swaying eight-minute title track begins with a sizzling brass
section and then Marcus Printup's thoughtful, several-minute trumpet solo, while
Chestnut takes a supporting harmony role. "Brother With the Mint Green Vine"
opens with a moody, dark chord foundation (very reminiscent of Joe Sample), but
is largely fashioned as a duet between Chestnut's plucky ivories and Stefon
Harris' whimsical vibes. Harris gets more solo time than his host. "Fantasia"
has a classic trio sound in the Vince Guaraldi vein and is most memorable for
Christian McBride's inventive upright bass solo over the soft brushes of Lewis
Nash; Chestnut, of course, is at his elegant best, as he is on the one solo
showcase he allows himself, a mournful rendition of "Swing Low Sweet Chariot."
He shows off his improv skills most effectively on the free-for-all trio piece
"Minor Funk." Just in case listeners should grow complacent that this is just
another multifaceted jazz project, Chestnut tosses in a little musical humor
with the peppy, horn-driven, New Orleans-styled "Brother Hawky Hawk." It's
Chestnut's first album of original tunes since 1998, and he's back stronger than
ever. — Jonathan Widran
* Soul Food / Cyrus Chestnut/Atlantic 83490

James Carter

James Carter (saxes) Johnny Griffin (ts) David Murray (ts) Franz Jackson (ts,vo) Larry Smith (as) Dwight Adams (tp)
Kenn Cox (p) Gerard Gibbes (org) Ralphe Armstrong (b) Leonard Allen (ds)

Live at Baker's Keyboard Lounge , Detroit,@June 16-18, 2001
Tricotism Warner Bros. 48449-2
Soul Street
Freedom Jazz Dance
I Can't Get Started
Free and Easy
Low Flame
Sack Full of Dreams
Foot Pattin'
Between 1995 and 2004, Detroit saxophonist James Carter released several conceptual discs: a salute to Django Reinhardt (Chasin' the Gypsy), electric-era Miles Davis (Layin' in the Cut), jazz ballads (Real Quiet Storm), and a lush Billie Holiday tribute (Gardenias for Lady Day). With the release of each disc, the unavoidable question remained: would Carter ever put out another straight-ahead session in the vein of his early-'90s recordings JC on the Set and Jurassic Classics? Happily, Live at Baker's Keyboard Lounge makes up for lost time. Carter and an amazing array of musicians took flight for three nights in June 2001 at Baker's in Detroit, featuring guest appearances by David Murray and Johnny Griffin alongside fellow Motor City natives Franz Jackson, Kenny Cox, Dwight Adams, Larry Smith, and Gerard Gibbs. On this set Carter frequently switches reeds, easily juggling tenor, soprano, and baritone saxophones, while his rock-solid rhythm section of bassist Ralphe Armstrong and the split drumming duties of Leonard King and the late Funk Brother Richard "Pistol" Allen (who passed away in 2002) keep the music simmering until the heat rises once again. Carter's choice of cover material is impeccable and well balanced. Instead of lazily strolling through the same old tried and true standards and songbooks, Carter and associates re-ignite tunes from the pen of Oscar Pettiford ("Tricotism"), Jimmy Forrest ("Soul Street"), Eddie Harris ("Freedom Jazz Dance"), and Don Byas ("Free and Easy"), before slowing the tempo on "I Can't Get Started," "Low Flame," and "Sack Full of Dreams," culminating with the four-tenor blowout of George Duvivier's "Foot Pattin'." The only time the train jumps the tracks is during "Soul Street." Organist Gibbs uses a synthesized, sampled vocal section that sounds like a mechanical Swingle Singers. The technology itself may be intriguing, but the results are completely out of place in this context. Live at Baker's Keyboard Lounge finds Carter cutting loose like a musician who's been conceptually sidetracked long enough. This is a back to basics blowing session and concepts be damned! — Al Campbell
*Live At Baker's Keyboard Lounge / James Carter Warner Bros. 48449-2

James Carter

James Carter (ts,cl) John Hicks (p) Peter Washington (b) Victor Lewis (ds) Miche Braden (v)
Phil Myers, Erik Ralske (frh) Jeff Nelson (tb) Erik Charlston (vib) and Strings session

Avator Studio C & Sony Studio B, NYC, Prov 2003 Gloria
(I Wonder) Where Our Love Has Gone
I'm in a Low Down Groove
Strange Fruit (
A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing
Indian Summer
More Than You Know
Following up his 2000 tribute to guitarist Django Reinhardt, Chasin' the Gypsy, saxophonist James Carter pays homage to iconic jazz singer Billie Holiday on Gardenias for Lady Day. Perhaps never before has the jazz iconoclast balanced so perfectly his "big top" avant-garde leanings with his more pinstriped traditionalist aesthetic. This is a beautiful album that revels as much in classic melody as it does in Carter's most torrid saxophone "skronk." Although the album largely succeeds on Carter's virtuosic performance, it gains most of its character from the deft and unpredictable orchestral arrangements of Greg Cohen and fellow Detroiter Cassius Richmond. In particular, Richmond brings a cinematic quality to the album with his treatments of "Sunset," "I Wonder Where Our Love Is Gone," and "Gloria" that breathe and swell, rubbing dramatically against Carter's muscular sound. Similarly, Cohen — who has worked with such N.Y.C. downtown scenesters as John Zorn, David Byrne, and Tom Waits — brings a quirky and epic quality to his tracks. Featuring a very Nina Simone-esque performance by vocalist Miche Braden, Holiday's most famous number, "Strange Fruit," is magnified by Cohen into a brooding film noir that ultimately descends into an apocalyptic barrage of screams and wails, with Carter and Braden manifesting all the anguish and anger the song implies. It is unclear if the orchestra and band recorded at the same time, but even if they did not, Carter's stellar rhythm section featuring pianist John Hicks, drummer Victor Lewis, and bassist Peter Washington lends an organic quality to the proceedings that feels natural and lithe. Continuing to display a unique and singular vision, Carter has crafted a fittingly urbane, elegant, and unnerving album that celebrates both Holiday's haunting spirituality and earthy sexuality. — Matt Collar
* Gardenias For Lady Day / James Carter Columbia Record CH 89032

2004: Live at Baker's Keyboard Lounge

June 16-18 2001
Between 1995 and 2004, Detroit saxophonist James Carter released several conceptual discs: a salute to Django Reinhardt (Chasin' the Gypsy), electric-era Miles Davis (Layin' in the Cut), jazz ballads (Real Quiet Storm), and a lush Billie Holiday tribute (Gardenias for Lady Day). With the release of each disc, the unavoidable question remained: would Carter ever put out another straight-ahead session in the vein of his early-'90s recordings JC on the Set and Jurassic Classics? Happily, Live at Baker's Keyboard Lounge makes up for lost time. Carter and an amazing array of musicians took flight for three nights in June 2001 at Baker's in Detroit, featuring guest appearances by David Murray and Johnny Griffin alongside fellow Motor City natives Franz Jackson, Kenny Cox, Dwight Adams, Larry Smith, and Gerard Gibbs. On this set Carter frequently switches reeds, easily juggling tenor, soprano, and baritone saxophones, while his rock-solid rhythm section of bassist Ralphe Armstrong and the split drumming duties of Leonard King and the late Funk Brother Richard "Pistol" Allen (who passed away in 2002) keep the music simmering until the heat rises once again. Carter's choice of cover material is impeccable and well balanced. Instead of lazily strolling through the same old tried and true standards and songbooks, Carter and associates re-ignite tunes from the pen of Oscar Pettiford ("Tricotism"), Jimmy Forrest ("Soul Street"), Eddie Harris ("Freedom Jazz Dance"), and Don Byas ("Free and Easy"), before slowing the tempo on "I Can't Get Started," "Low Flame," and "Sack Full of Dreams," culminating with the four-tenor blowout of George Duvivier's "Foot Pattin'." The only time the train jumps the tracks is during "Soul Street." Organist Gibbs uses a synthesized, sampled vocal section that sounds like a mechanical Swingle Singers. The technology itself may be intriguing, but the results are completely out of place in this context. Live at Baker's Keyboard Lounge finds Carter cutting loose like a musician who's been conceptually sidetracked long enough. This is a back to basics blowing session and concepts be damned!

1.Tricotism- Pettiford 9:23
2 Soul Street- Forrest 8:16
3 Freedom Jazz Dance- Harris 9:26
4 I Can't Get Started Duke, -Gershwin 7:09
5 Free and Easy- Byas 10:39
6 Low Flame- Feather 10:21
7 Sack Full of Dreams -McFarland, Savary 11:59
8 Foot Pattin'- Duvivier

Out Of Nowwhere
Half Note Records
May 6-7 2004

Recorded in 2004 at the Blue Note in New York, Out of Nowhere finds James Carter paired up with fellow Detroiters Gerard Gibbs on organ and Leonard King on drums for the unofficial sequel to Live at Baker's Keyboard Lounge. While the trio revitalizes the standard "Out of Nowhere" and breezes through Benny Golson's jazz classic "Along Came Betty," the fireworks really get under way on "Highjack." The tune signals the fervent arrival of its composer, guitarist James Blood Ulmer, and by the conclusion the quartet is joined by fiery multi-saxophonist Hamiett Bluiett. Carter and Bluiett then take center stage for a baritone sax duet on "Song for Camile," Bluiett's beautiful ballad initially recorded with the World Saxophone Quartet, of which he is a member, on their organ-drenched 1995 date Breath of Life. Ulmer directs the proceedings through Chicago blues territory with a quick and loose "Little Red Rooster," which leads into R. Kelly's 1996 pop hit "I Believe I Can Fly." Now, before indifference gets the best of you, in the hands of these musicians the tune receives a quick conversion from ballad into a quasi-Latin groove, through burning funk -- in which Gibbs absolutely shines -- and finally the reeds irreverently take it out honking and squawking in a manner that would have made Lester Bowie smile. Like its predecessor, Live at Baker's Keyboard Lounge, Out of Nowhere provides an admirable cornucopia of modern jazz from Carter and friends.
1. Out of Nowhere- Heyman 10:52
2 Along Came Betty- Golson 14:33
3 Highjack -Ulmer 16:07
4 Song for Camille- Bluiett 12:28
5 Little Red Rooster- Dixon 4:51
6 I Believe I Can Fly

Gold Sounds
Sept 16-19 2004
Brown Bros Recording

Given the glut of "String Quartet Tribute to So and So," "Electronic Tribute to Some Crappy Band," and "Pickin' on Whomever" "tributes," it's somewhat surprising that no one has tackled Pavement in a tribute album -- not until now, at any rate. And even more surprising is that it's not one of those aforementioned knockoffs; it's a heavyweight jazz session withJames Carter, Cyrus Chestnut, and Reginald Veal, three of jazz's finest players on their respective instruments (rounded out by the talented Ali Jackson on drums). You may be asking, "what the hell are a bunch of jazzbos doing playing Pavement tunes?" The short answer, "making a great album." Remember, underneath their slacker image and loose, lo-fi aesthetic, Pavement's best tunes were memorable and melodic with interesting (though sometimes ramshackle) arrangements. Carter and Company play to those strengths as a unit, and Gold Sounds is an overwhelming success, not just as a tribute but as a jazz album. Chestnut's sparkling Fender Rhodes shines throughout, and Veal really shows his versatility on both electric and acoustic bass. James Carter is hands down one of the greatest reedmen alive: he can play it tender or can summon squalls on his instruments that rival electric guitars. As a group, the entire band is locked into each other and the tunes (just listen to the tradeoffs between tenor, Rhodes, and drums as Veal holds the groove on "Stereo"), which generally don't depart drastically from the original arrangements beyond the instrumentation. "Summer Babe" is one of several highlights, with great electric bass and soulful playing. With judicious overdubs, Carter adds a second tenor and Chestnutcomps on Hammond organ while soloing on Rhodes (and check out Carter's percussive comping). "Cut Your Hair" is slowed way down with more great Rhodes/Hammond work andCarter's soulful soprano. Toward the end, they kick it into high gear by upping the tempo for the outro. "Blue Hawaiian" is built on the same smooth bassline, and Chestnut sends his Rhodes through a Leslie speaker to great effect as Carter tears it up on tenor and Jacksondances around the beat. The set closes with a rousing solo piano version of "Trigger Cut." If you're a Pavement fan, you owe it to yourself to check out what these guys do with the songbook. If you're a jazz fan, forget that these tunes come from the world of indie rock; in the hands of Carter and Chestnut, they might as well be undiscovered standards.

1 Stereo 6:24
2 My First Mine 6:30
3 Cut Your Hair 6:30
4 Summer Babe 4:36
5 Blue Hawaiian 4:54
6 Here 5:52
7 Platform Blues 5:38
8 Trigger Cut 3:54

Present Tense
Sept 21-23/2007
Enarcy Recording

Present Tense was born out of two very specific desires. First, saxophonist James Carter wanted a precise recorded portrait of where he was at as a musician, aesthetically and technically. Second was producer Michael Cuscuna's dead-on assertion that Carter, for all his instrumental and aesthetic virtuosity, had never been represented well on tape. Carter's inability to resist overdoing it on virtually everything he records (ten-minute solos in standards, etc.) makes that point inarguable. Cuscuna proves to be the perfect producer -- as both ally and foil -- and reins Carter in to benefit the recording as a whole. The band on Present Tense is solid: the young trumpeter and fellow Detroiter Dwight Adams, pianist D.D. Jackson, bassist James Genus, and drummer Victor Lewis round out the quintet, with percussionist Eli Fountain and guitarist Rodney Jones playing on three cuts each. The program is wide-ranging and eclectic, but it locks. It offers a portrait of Carter as an exciting traditionalist who can stretch arrangements and previous interpretations to the breaking point, without simply making them egotistical statements about him as a soloist.

Dave Burns "Rapid Shave" opens the set on a stomping, storming, Blue Note-style hard bop workout with Carter's tenor and Adams' trumpet playing the 24-bar jump blues with joyous abandon. Adams' comps push the fat harmonic center straight to the front. Genus and Lewis offer sprightly tempos and interesting rhythmic accents. Adams proves he can hang with the big fellows nicely in his own solo. Carter's "Bro. Dolphy" is one of the most compelling and emotionally satisfying tunes on the set, with Carter on bass clarinet. It opens as an angular, slightly dissonant harmonic sprint but gives way to some of the most lyric balladry Carter has ever composed; one can hear his love of Billie Holiday in the melody even as he evokes Dolphy's own love of the blues and simpler melodies. But this isn't enough by a long shot, and before long the ballad gives way to a stomping, Mingus-style workout, the very kind that showcased Dolphy's artistry as both a soloist and arranger.

Django Reinhardt's ballad, "Pour Que Ma Vie Demeure," with Carter on soprano, is lovely. It lowers the intensity and features a fine solo by Genus. Other standouts include Dodo Marmarosa's "Dodo's Bounce," with Carter on flute and Adams playing a muted trumpet. Its elegant, cool swing is balanced by Jones' semi-percussive strum that adds a weight to the rhythm section. Jones also appears on the Carter original "Bossa J.C." Fountain's congas shimmer in this samba, which contains a post-bop force inspired by Ray Barretto's tough Latin jazz sensibility and the lyricism of Tom Jobim. Carter's solo seeks the places where the tune's melody breaks out, and succeeds in finding it. Jones follows the roll of rhythms in his single-string and chord voicings as he alternates between George Benson-esque funk and Baden Powell's elegant textural statements. It works without a hitch. Whether it's in the sprinting bop pyrotechnics of Gigi Gryce's "Hymn of the Orient," or the off minor tropical blues of Jimmy Jones' "Shadowy Sands," or the balladry of the standard "Tenderly," Present Tense showcases Carter at his most disciplined and ambitious. Even his originals -- check "Sussa Nita" -- use the tradition in ways he hasn't employed before. This may be Carter's finest album because of its insistence on the balance between restraint and adventure. Carter placed himself in Cuscuna's expert hands and it has paid off handsomely.

1 Rapid Shave Burns 7:31
2 Bro. Dolphy Carter 7:15
3 Pour Que Ma Vie Demeure Reinhardt 5:08
4 Sussa Nita Carter 6:05
5 Song of Delilah Evans, Livingston, Young 5:12
6 Dodo's Bounce Marmarosa 6:05
7 Shadowy Sands Jones 8:31
8 Hymn of the Orient Gryce 4:26
9 Bossa J.C. Carter 4:45
10 Tenderly Gross, Lawrence

Heaven On Earth
Half Note Records
May 8-9 2009
Heaven on Earth finds saxophonist James Carter performing live at the Blue Note Club in N.Y.C. in May of 2009. Backed by a select small group of musicians including organist John Medeski, bassist Christian McBride, guitarist Adam Rogers, and drummer Joey Baron, Carter runs through a short list of standards and lesser-known covers. In contrast to his generally swinging, straight-ahead 2008 studio release Present Tense, Heaven on Earth features Carter's idiosyncratic penchant for mixing old-school bop blowing and avant-garde skronk with a bit more greasy funk this time around per the inclusion of Medeski. In that sense, what at first may appear as yet another average live album reveals itself to be a much more interesting proposition. From the start, Carter is at his iconoclastic best reworking Django Reinhardt's "Diminishing" into less of a gypsy-jazz jam and more of a fractured and propulsive fusion-oriented work-out. He then wrangles Lucky Thompson's "Slam's Mishap" into a thumping and soulful roil bringing his own solo to a head with a series of bluesy goose-strangling squeals. That Rogers follows up with an urbane Kenny Burrell-inflected turn is a welcome rub. Never one to shy away from grand drama, Carter goes for the gusto midway through with a florid and voluptuous take on the ballad "Street of Dreams" that ends in bright audience claps and shouts of approval. In fact, the crowd seems to really dig the music and it's nice to actually hear how enthusiastic they are throughout out the album. They are particularly audible during Carter's gut-bucket rendition of the Ike Quebec/Leo Parker blues "Blue Leo" which showcases the extroverted saxophonist's flair for avant-garde split-tones and layered multi-phonic techniques that never lose sight of the earthy intentions of the tune. More than just a live date, Heaven on Earth is a knotty, adventurous document that allows for as much group interplay as it does for spotlighting Carter's long-recognized virtuosity.

1.Diminishing Reinhardt 14:14
2 Slam's Mishap Thompson 8:35
3 Street of Dreams Lewis, Lewis, Young, Young 9:25
4 Infiniment Traditional 10:39
5 Blue Leo Parker, Quebec 12:19
6 Heaven on Earth Young 11:34

James Carter: Live At Newport 1996
July 1996
Newport Jazz Festival
Newport, RI
James Carter, Javon Jackson-tsx Craig Taborn-p Jaribu Shahid-b Tani Tabbal-d
Lester Leaps In [Lester Young]