Chasin' the Gypsy

Chasin' the Gypsy

by James Carter
     
 

A one hundred foot tall billboard couldn't advertise James Carter's embrace of the ancient-to-the-future approach to music more blatantly than the content he navigates on his concurrent pair of new releases. While on "Layin' In The Cut" Carter frames the ultra-expressionist syntax of funk saxophone with a harmolodic backdrop of electronically amplified strings,… See more details below

Overview

A one hundred foot tall billboard couldn't advertise James Carter's embrace of the ancient-to-the-future approach to music more blatantly than the content he navigates on his concurrent pair of new releases. While on "Layin' In The Cut" Carter frames the ultra-expressionist syntax of funk saxophone with a harmolodic backdrop of electronically amplified strings, "Chasin' The Gypsy" -- a homage to the music of the legendary Romany guitarist Django Reinhardt -- is an all-acoustic melody feast. A virtuoso on the entire saxophone family, Carter has been known to indulge in semantic excesses extraneous to the function of the content at hand. Not here. Joined by nylon string guitar master Romero Lubambo and steel string guitarist Jay Berliner, Carter tackles Reinhardt's timeless songs with undiminished flair and mature discretion. Highlights include a sequence of bass saxophone statements unmatched in the jazz literature since Adrian Rollini's heyday coinciding with Reinhardt's early career seventy years ago. He coaxes a mellow sound from the huge horn on Reinhardt's classic "Nuages" at a tango gait in dialogue with accordionist Charlie Giordano; tears through the "Rhythm" variant "Artillerie Lourde (Heavy Artillery)" with machete-sharp cut, exchanging finely-carved bop licks with violinist Regina Carter; and following a concertized violin over accordion introduction, makes you hear the monster sing the lyric on "I'll Never Be the Same." Always a devotee of pre-bop tenor saxophone styles, Carter's vocalized arpeggiations on "La DerniŠre BergŠre (The Last Shepherdess)" evoke tenor saxophonist supreme Coleman Hawkins; he deploys rich vibrato a la Ike Quebec on "Manoir De Mes Rˆves (Castle Of My Dreams)" and on "Avanlon" conjures an influence-distilling Carterian fantasy that the violinist matches phrase for phrase. Carter extracts every ounce of warm tone from F-mezzo saxophone on the exotic "Oriental Shuffle," replete with Cyro Baptista's array of gong tones and Joey Baron's consonant trapset, and in duo with Berliner on an original, "Imiri's Lullaby," while his soprano sax stylings on "Chasin' the Gypsy" raises the spirit of Sidney Bechet's legendary encounters with Reinhardt. Entirely without affect, the ambiance of "Chasin' The Gypsy" is not unlike that of the soundtrack to the Robert Altman film "Kansas City," on which Carter, Josh Redman, Nicholas Payton, and a host of young talent gracefully inhabited the skin of the masters whose wit and ingenuity established the bedrock on which jazz stands.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richard S. Ginell
James Carter celebrated 2000 by putting out two vastly different albums at the same time, an amazing concession from a major label for a jazz artist who doesn't sell in Kenny G-like proportions. Chasin' the Gypsy, as you might guess, is an homage to Django Reinhardt, whose music Carter used to dig on Detroit radio when he was a teenager, but Carter doesn't take the predictable reverent path in paying his respects. He rummages through his closet and pulls out a rarely used bass saxophone on three cuts -- the bumpy sounds are often comic yet a comfortable fit for his antic style -- and even tries out an F mezzo sax on the exotically relaxed "Oriental Shuffle." Back on tenor, Carter's slippery playing often doesn't hesitate to approach the outside; he keeps his sense of humor and his individual quirks intact. Most of the tunes are Django's yet the one that comes closest to evoking the frantic Hot Club Quintette drive is Carter's own title track, a madcap chase indeed with Carter on wild soprano sax this time. A nostalgic accordion underpins the tango-like "Nuages" á la Piazzolla; violinist Regina Carter provides the Stephane Grappelli-like foil on a few tracks (she does all right but could be a bit looser); and Jay Berliner and Romero Lubambo occasionally summon the ghost of Django with their respectively steel and nylon-stringed solo and rhythm guitar work. Mostly, this is a delightful departure for Carter, though probably destined to be a one-off excursion.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/06/2000
Label:
Atlantic Mod Afw
UPC:
0075678330421
catalogNumber:
83304
Rank:
4108

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Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

James Carter   Primary Artist,Bass Saxophone,Soprano Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Jay Berliner   Steel Guitar
Joey Baron   Drums
Cyro Baptista   Percussion
Regina Carter   Violin
Charlie Giordano   Accordion
Romero Lubambo   Guitar (Nylon String)
Steve Kirby   Bass

Technical Credits

Stéphane Grappelli   Composer
Yves Beauvais   Producer
James Carter   Producer
Danny Kopelson   Engineer
Benjamin Niles   Art Direction
Scott Young   Engineer
Ross Peterson   Engineer

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