Sunday, January 02, 2005

James Carter Organ Group - Darmstadt, Germany 10/15/2004

I found this concert on a usenet newsgroup and was pretty excited to hear Carter playing in an organ group again - I liked his studio organ album In Carterian Fashion quite a bit and was interested to hear what a Carter organ group would sound like live. Here he’s joined by Gerard Gibbs on the Hammond B3 and Leonard King on drums with Carter switching between his vast arsenal of saxophones. The concert opens with "Tricotism" which is very fast paced with Carter employing a lot of overblowing and "honking and bar-walking." Never exactly a shrinking violet, this really finds him going full-blast.

A couple of long explorations of classic Benny Golson themes come next, with the band improvising on "Killer Joe" and "Along Came Betty." These are lengthy versions too, with each clocking in at over 20 minutes, giving Carter plenty of time to launch exploratory improvisations over grinding organ and a heavy backbeat. This was a pretty interesting concert - Carter is very talented, and I hope that he settles in to making good records again. I wasn’t to impressed 2003's string drenched Gardenia’s for Lady Day, and while last year’s Live at Baker’s Keyboard Lounge had it’s moments, it felt like a stopgap release. Here’s hoping that ‘05 finds him recording and touring with the strength he is capable of.

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