James Carter

Conversin' With the Elders

  • Atlantic

One might fear that the relatively young Carter might be overshadowed by all of the talent on his latest album. I'm here to inform you otherwise. On every track, Carter plays toe to toe with horn and reed greats like Harry “Sweet” Edison, Lester Bowie and Buddy Tate. Along the way, all shine in this collaborative album, invoking memorable musical dialogues. Adding to the album's success is the accomplished rhythm section, composed of Craig Taborn on piano, Jaribu Shahid on bass and Tani Tabbal on drums, whose timing and solos nicely shape the group's sound. Comfortably switching instruments (from baritone, tenor and alto sax to bass clarinet) and styles (from swing and ballad to avant-garde and bop) as often as he does musical guests, Carter proves again and again that he is no passing fancy. Marked by eloquent phrasing, good instrumental control and peerless range, Carter is one of those anomalies of modern jazz who seems to know his place in jazz history without resorting to nostalgic imitation. The result is a unique jazz voice — one that should be around for a long time.

— J. Drew Todd

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