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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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JAMES CARTER

Caribbean Rhapsody

UMG LC 00699

 

 


1. Concerto For Saxophones And Orchestra: Ritmico
2. Tender
3. Playful - Fast (With Swing)
4. Tenor Interlude
5. Caribbean Rhapsody
6. Soprano Interlude

James Carter - Soprano sax, tenor sax
Regina Carter - Violin
The Akua String Quartet:
Patrisa Tomasini - Violin
Chala Yancy - Violin
Ron Lawrence - Viola
Akua Dixon - Cello
Kenny Davis - Bass
Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra:
Giancarlo Guerrero - Conductor

 

James Carter exploded onto the jazz music scene in the early 1990's, defying a label, and displaying awesome music ability in his capacity to play a variety of saxophones from soprano to baritone. Unwilling to be confined to a particular genre, he was at home with a variety of styles, which he played with equal facility. This latest project showcases his virtuosity, and combines his talents as a jazz soloist with a new classical work.

The Concerto For Saxophones And Orchestra by the composer Roberto Sierra is in three movements which are both multifaceted and tightly written, but which give Carter the room to improvise within this framework. The opening section Ritmico, with Carter on tenor, is delivered in a distracted pace open to interpretation. In the second movement Tender, Carter plays soprano sax interplaying with the flutes, and then segueing to float above the brass. Finally, for Playful - Fast (With Swing), Carter is back on tenor sax, where he delivers a John Coltrane- like performance with a waterfall of notes.

Roberto Sierra's second piece is a single-movement opus entitled Caribbean Rhapsody and it is the centre of attention of the disc. It is conceptualized as a musical travelogue of the composer's life growing up in Puerto Rico and thus covers jazz, blues, Latin and Caribbean music. Carter starts this journey on soprano sax and, with the support of his cousin Regina Carter on violin, swoops and dives to extraordinary effect. Moving through the other sections, Carter now switches to tenor which provides a darker tone to the piece of music. There is some combative interaction between the two Carters which adds some definition to the composition. Finally the piece ends on a joyful note that is Cuban.

The two other cuts on the disc - Tenor Interlude and Soprano Interlude - are improvised solos by Carter. While one might question the content of these interludes, there is no doubt about Carter's overpowering musicianship, nor his outstanding ability on the instruments.

This is a disc that defies categorization, but is bursting with originality.

Pierre Giroux



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