James Carter is a wonderfully talented saxophonist, and someone who has evolved into something of a journeyman over the past several years. Coming on the heels of an interesting orchestral album, he comes through with an thoughtful grits 'n' gravy organ fueled album. This is almost something of a James Carter sampler album: with elements of groove, ballads and rhythm and blues making up the music. Accompanied by Gerard Gibbs on organ and Leonard King on drums, the core group also adroitly adds guests to vary the program. The blues factors deeply in the music with Miche Braden singing on "The Walking Blues" and "Ramblin' Blues" while Carter alternates between baritone and tenor saxophone. He adds Brandon Ross on guitar to the core trio for a very powerful set ending performance of Julius Hemphill's "The Hard Blues." The group moves through a couple of gospel performances on an instrumental version of Duke Ellington's "Come Sunday" and Braden sitting in again singing on the traditional "Tis the Old Ship of Zion." The group drops into a deep rhythm and blues groove with Jack McDuff's "Walking the Dog" as a nice feature for Gibbs and "Lettuce Toss Yo' Salad" which is a blasting, bar walking bit of fun. James Carter takes the the organ group in a different direction by adding musicians and developing a setlist based on the musicians talents. Carter moves through a number of different saxophones and modes and moods to create an interesting album. There is an interesting liner essay and some nice photography included with the liner notes. At the Crossroads - amazon.com
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