James Carter – saxophones, Gerard Gibbs – B3 Organ, Leonard King – drums
James Carter is back in town. One of the most admired saxophonists of his generation and a powerful force in today’s jazz scene, James Carter’s playing is firmly rooted in 20th-century Afro-American culture.
The sweep of his imagination and the power of his technique embraces the whole saxophone tradition in jazz which he has extended into the 21st century through his resolutely contemporary outlook, prompting Hi-Fi UK magazine to dub him a “Modern sax God.”.
DJANGO UNCHAINED“Carter’s delivery has the energy to burst the seams of any setting. This performance similarly featured breathtaking cadenzas, unaccompanied torrents of notes and high-pitched squeaks that re-solved peacefully to consonance. the strongest impression was of a tight-knit working band extending the reach and range of a classic formula. As a unit they retain the shuffles, bounce and romance that lie at the heart of organ combo jazz, but add an academician’s grasp of history and a knowing contemporary resonance.”
- Mike Hobart FINANCIAL TIMES
“Tribute albums and tribute bands are often content with summoning up old ghosts. Saxophonist, James Carter, took a more rewarding approach on his excellent CD, CHASIN’ THE GYPSY and he continues that approach with his Organ Trio’s Tribute performances to the music of Django Reinhardt by offering up fresh takes on the music of the French Gypsy guitarist. He does so by substituting his own instrument in the lead role. Carter, whether he’s playing tenor or soprano sax, shows off a sweet, sinuous tone; when he reinterprets Reinhardt’s classic Nuages with a bass sax, the muscular sound is distancing at first, but then it wraps itself around the listener like an anaconda. These performances, like the CD do more than invoke Reinhardt’s spirit; they have a life of their own.”
WE’RE NOT CHASIN’ THE GYPSY ANYMORE – HE’S HERE IN THE HOOD!
From James: “I personally feel that the music of Django can still speak volumes, even 60 years after his passing! It’s true that in recent times (in part because of the commemoration of his centennial in 2010) that his music has been played by vast amounts of Hot Club-esque ensembles but with the cohesive power of the James Carter Organ Trio, Django comes to the ‘Hood in a very soulful, funky way’ that lifts the material from its traditional all-string rhythm guitar la pompe and allows the listener to hear Reinhardt from another angle with a new appreciation of what he brought to the jazz world on the other side of the Atlantic...”
Since 2001, I’ve had the privilege of sharing the stage with numerous luminaries of the Gypsy Jazz genre such as: Stochelo Rosenberg & his trio, Bireli Lagrene, Boulou & Elios Ferre(sons of Django’s guitar accompanist Matelo Ferre), Dorado, Samson & Tchavolo Schmitt and Django’s grandson David Reinhardt to name a few, so I know the tradition to say most certainly that the Organ Trio provides a ‘hood pass’ for Django but you can still hear and feel the tradition!”
Some selections of the repertoire : Impromptu / Fleche d’Or / Troublant Bolero / Babik (Bi-Bop) / Nuages / Diminushing / Mabel / La Derniere Bergere
James Carter – bio
An artist long intrigued by contrasts and hybrids, Carter resists comfortable categorization. Born (1969) and raised in Detroit, Carter grew up surrounded by music, soaking up everything from funk and fusion to rock, soul, and various strains of acoustic jazz. It was the late trumpeter Lester Bowie who first brought Carter to New York, inviting him to perform with his New York Organ Combo. The Bowie connection led to Carter’s debut recording, 1993’s JC on the Set, a quartet tour de force that announced the arrival of a superlative new talent equally expressive on alto, tenor, and baritone sax (though he’s added several other horns over the years, most importantly soprano sax).
Carter always finds a way into what ever musical situation he finds himself in. “You have to be totally comfortable wherever,” Carter says. “I think there’s tremendous beauty in cross-pollinations of music and influences.” In 2000, he released two albums simultaneously that seemed to proclaim everything fair game: Chasin’ the Gypsy, a voluptuous, lyrical session partly inspired by the timeless collaboration between Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli, and the groove-laden Layin’ in the Cut, which combines harmolodic freedom with a deep reservoir of funk.
He’s reinvented the organ combo (with 2005’s Out of Nowhere and again in 2009 with John Medeski on Heaven and Earth), explored the music of alt-rock band Pavement (on 2005’s Gold Sounds), and paid loving tribute to Billie Holiday (on 2003’s Gardenias for Lady Day). Taken in context, Carter’s creative rendezvous with Sierra makes perfect sense.