Reviews that mention James Carter

May 21, 2011

World Saxophone Quartet

Yes We Can
Jazzwerkstatt JW 098

Who would have guessed that nearly 35 years after it was first organized the World Saxophone Quartet (WSQ) would make one of its most exciting CDs in years thanks to a 75-year-old guest star saxophonist? But it’s true. After a number of gimmicky CDs and live shows featuring shifting personnel, rhythm sections and odd song choices, the WSQ has returned to form with this superlative session thanks in no little part to the contributions of Kidd Jordan.

Playing alto saxophone instead of his usual tenor – thus filling missing WSQ founding member Oliver Lake’s chair – Jordan brings an indiscernible élan to the proceedings, evidently enlivening the group and prodding the other three players to masterful and imaginative work. The band’s other original members, baritone saxophonist and clarinetist Hamiet Bluiett and tenor saxophonist and bass clarinetist David Murray are both present. Meanwhile tenor and soprano saxophonist James Carter seems to be the newest permanent WSQ member, most recent in a long line of reedists who have filled the fourth chair since Julius Hemphill departed in 1990. MORE

March 8, 2010

Guelph Jazz Festival

Guelph, Ontario
September 9 - 13, 2009

Always populist, the annual Guelph Jazz Festival extended its support of outdoor improvisation plus interaction between Third and First World musicians in its 16th edition, without lessening its commitment to Free Music. Much of the outstanding music-making came from the later however, with American pianist Marilyn Crispell one standout.

Featured in American, European and Canadian group settings, Crispell’s playing was powerful and outer-directed at the River Run Centre concert hall, in a trio with two AACM stalwarts, seemingly ageless tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson and colorful percussionist Hamid Drake, whose rhythmic conception is comfortable in any context. Anderson often quivered or vibrated reflective lines that were paralleled with linear arpeggios or kinetic pedal-pushed frequencies by Crispell. Meantime Drake’s palm or stick movement conveyed all the rhythm. Climax was a version of Muñoz’s “Fatherhood”, built on ecclesiastical chording from the pianist, ruffs and rebounds from Drake and gospel-like preaching from Anderson. MORE