Monday, July 26, 2010

Daniel Carter, et. al. - The Perfect Blue (Not Two, 2010)

Multi-instrumentalist Daniel Carter is a Renaissance man on the New York free jazz scene, and around the world. He doesn't lead many sessions, preferring to collaborate with like minded musicians in a collective setting. He is nominally the leader on this album, playing trumpet, alto and tenor saxophone, along with Alberto Fiori on piano, Tom Abbs on bass and Federico Ughi on drums. The title of the album gives their intentions away at the top, as they explore the textures and hues of music and all of the shadings that the blues can provide. The album opens slowly with "If You Come This Way" which has spare piano and probing spacious trumpet. Things pick up with the lengthy "Underdog," beginning with an urgent piano trio developing in a dark and ominous setting. Starting with trumpet and then switching to saxophone, Carter is the focus of this performance leading a burning quartet improvisation culminating with screams of encouragement and concluding with a torrid saxophone and drums feature. The short "Brooklyn Basement" moves in another direction entirely as open yearning saxophone and gentle piano combine in a hopeful and concise duet. The group plays in a dynamic fashion on "Zero Summer" led by skittering fast drums developing with strong tenor saxophone into a powerful improvisation before throttling back the power and becoming nimble and swirling. "To Pass O" follows the same path with a slow open ended opening building to strong quartet improvisation led by powerful squeals of saxophone. Carter's tenor is strong and deep, building to a free climax, over rippling piano. Exploring the relative darkness and light of the blue nature of jazz was a great idea for this quartet. They play varying shades of jazz from straight up ballads to way out free improvisation with class and dignity throughout. Using varying amounts of light and heat they are able to create a coherent statement that is at once spontaneous and thoughtful. The Perfect Blue -

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