Rob McCallum rakmccallum@hotmail.com
Fri, 30 Aug 2002 03:14:27 -0400

----- Original Message -----
From: Rob McCallum <rakmccallum@hotmail.com>
To: <barbonestreet@earthlink.net>
Sent: Friday, August 30, 2002 3:14 AM
Subject: Re: [Dixielandjazz] NOT OKOM JAZZ, NY TIMES REVIEW

> Hi all,
> I'm glad Steve posted this, and it may be a bit closer to OKOM than is
> apparent.  Saxophonist James Carter, to me, is THE sax player on the
> If you haven't heard him, he will positively blow you away.  His technique
> is amazing and is outshone only by his enthusiasm for jazz, jazz history,
> and the fact that he really swings.  James came up here in Detroit and has
> become something of an icon.  He was discovered by Wynton Marsalis and
> toured with Wynton while still in his teens (in the late eighties).  I had
> the good fortune to play alongside him with the Blue Lake Gold Jazz Band
> also in the late eighties and still have a tape of a live broadcast with
> soloing on the same tune.  James has immense respect for jazz history,
> though he is definitely a "modern" player.  His cd, "Chasin' the Gypsy" is
> an homage to Django Reinhardt and his cd "Conversin' With the Elders" pays
> respect to his mentors (like Larry Smith).  For awhile. he was being
> in two different directions, Wynton was pulling him to a more conservative
> approach, and the the late Lester Bowie was pushing him to stretch.  He
> really now has his own voice and sees no contradiction in jazz.  He's
> equally comfortable putting on a Django Reinhardt style concert (of which
> took some ridiculous criticism for playing "tired" music) or sitting in
> the Sun Ra Arkestra, which he did hat, robe and all at last year's Ford
> Detroit festival, much to the amused delight of the crowd.  He was one of
> the top jazz players to come out of Northwestern High School in Detroit
> Ernie Rodgers (of Rappa House fame) was director.  There used to be a
> wonderful weekly jam session at a bar called Alvin's which featured top
> like Pistol Allen and James and those saxophonists from Northwestern would
> come in and line up and just blow the roof off, tearing through Cherokee
> break neck tempos.  This was, to me, like a modern day Minton's, though I
> must say, it was a pretty cool thing in its own right.  James was also one
> of the sax players in Altman's movie Kansas City and was interviewed in
> last segment of Ken Burn's Jazz.  He's also been interviewed by Terri
> on NPR's Fresh Air and has had stellar write ups in the Village Voice.
> he's in town (Detroit), you can often catch him sitting in at the after
> hours session at Bert's Market Place on Russell St. on Saturday nights,
> often with Marcus Belgrave.
> All the best,
> Rob McCallum
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Stephen Barbone <barbonestreet@earthlink.net>
> To: Dixieland Jazz Mailing List <dixielandjazz@ml.islandnet.com>
> Sent: Thursday, August 29, 2002 9:40 AM
> Subject: [Dixielandjazz] NOT OKOM JAZZ, NY TIMES REVIEW
> > Well it's not an OKOM review, but still can't resist posting it just in
> > case any reviewers out there want to borrow a few phrases from it
> > someday. ;-)
> >
> > Cheers,
> > Steve
> >
> > August 29, 2002 - New York Times
> >
> > Deep-Voiced Saxophones With a Variety of Styles
> >
> >
> >       Four baritone saxophones played together can sound like organ
> > chords filling a church, and occasionally as played on Tuesday night by
> > Hamiet Bluiett and his three colleagues in Baritone Nation, they did.
> > But they can also sound like a riot in a cow barn, or marine life, or
> > ragged, distorted electric guitars.
> >
> > The bread and butter of this remarkable band - which is rounded out
> > through Sunday at Iridium, 1650 Broadway, at 51st Street, by Kahil
> > El'Zabar on drums and percussion - is the rhythm-and-blues riff tune.
> > Mr. Bluiett and company - James Carter, Patience Higgins and Howard
> > Johnson - paved songs with cropped riffs, piling counterlines on top of
> > one another; the various saxophonists took solos that rose above the
> > great, wild noise.
> >
> > Mr. Carter thought in quick, impulsive, octave-leaping ideas, making his
> > reed pop like a shotgun blast; Mr. Higgins played more elegantly,
> > patiently exploring separate areas of the horn.
> >
> > There were rarely bridge sections; these tunes repeated themselves over
> > and over, and yes, that was the point. This music wasn't unlike
> > Mississippi hill-country blues in its simplicity and power, and with Mr.
> > El'Zabar's simple, loose, loud drumming, it could be connected to the
> > experience of listening to rock bands like the White Stripes. It was
> > rude, fresh and overwhelming, the kind of thing that's in short supply
> > even in jazz's avant-garde.
> >
> > There were a few pieces of a different sort as well. One weird, slow,
> > contrapuntally arranged number sounded like an Ellington ballad played
> > in retrograde; it was ugly but fascinating. For another, "Down Under,"
> > the horn players switched to bass clarinets (with Mr. Bluiett playing a
> > larger contra alto clarinet and Mr. Carter playing a huge contrabass
> > clarinet).
> >
> > This tune had no melodic riff to pin itself on. Rhythm alone drove it,
> > and the players experimented with texture. Mr. Carter, who always
> > gravitates to extreme reaches of his instrument, was right at home: he
> > dove to the bottom, making the lowest clarinetlike sounds imaginable, so
> > low that they seemed less like musical pitches than a giant tree
> > groaning before it falls.
> >
> >
> >
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