James Carter has become a 21st century Paul Gonsalves, not in playing style at all, in the tradition of making an impact in Newport at the festival, where the modern worldwide jazz festival movement was spawned, nurtured, codified and sustained by George Wein in the 1950s in the beginnings of a cultural phenomenon that has assisted the growth of jazz the world over.
Carter’s Blue Note debut, the track above drawn from his Organ Trio album, is also marlbank track of the day, week, and easily a contender for track of the year. The way Gerald Gibbs on the B3 slides around the 1min 20sec mark into the Crépuscule theme which is very like (predating) the melody of ‘Wave’ and then how Carter responds high up is remarkable.
The Alexander White groove taps New Orleans — to be specific the feel uncannily of the John Boudreaux sound that you hear towards six minutes in stripped of congas if you imagine on Dr John Gris Gris track ‘I Walk On Guilded Splinters’.
While half a symphony in length ‘Mélodie au Crépuscule’ alone is micro to macro in every way and demonstrates how a tiny unit can achieve the scale of a 100-piece orchestra in terms of artistic impact as jazz bands prove day in day out. As for Django Reinhardt listen to the Django 1946 “ur” version first and then play Carter immediately after and I guarantee that you will be astonished by how vivid he sounds in a feat of recomposition.
This is the music that Carter emerged from in his project documented live and on record already in many ways made radical instead of by revolution instead in syncretic diasporic universal musical evolution made possible by ferocious command of his instrument and what he wants to do with it in a small group setting. Want to know where and how jazz lives in the moment on a stage in front of people? Look no further than on Live From Newport Jazz which is proved to be history in the making.
– Stephen Graham
To be released on 31 August