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Gardenias for Lady Day
     

Gardenias for Lady Day

by James Carter
 
Following up his 2000 tribute to guitarist Django Reinhardt, Chasin' the Gypsy, saxophonist James Carter pays homage to iconic jazz singer Billie Holiday on Gardenias for Lady Day. Perhaps never before has the jazz iconoclast balanced so perfectly his "big top" avant-garde leanings with

Overview

Following up his 2000 tribute to guitarist Django Reinhardt, Chasin' the Gypsy, saxophonist James Carter pays homage to iconic jazz singer Billie Holiday on Gardenias for Lady Day. Perhaps never before has the jazz iconoclast balanced so perfectly his "big top" avant-garde leanings with his more pinstriped traditionalist aesthetic. This is a beautiful album that revels as much in classic melody as it does in Carter's most torrid saxophone "skronk." Although the album largely succeeds on Carter's virtuosic performance, it gains most of its character from the deft and unpredictable orchestral arrangements of Greg Cohen and fellow Detroiter Cassius Richmond. In particular, Richmond brings a cinematic quality to the album with his treatments of "Sunset," "I Wonder Where Our Love Is Gone," and "Gloria" that breathe and swell, rubbing dramatically against Carter's muscular sound. Similarly, Cohen -- who has worked with such N.Y.C. downtown scenesters as John Zorn, David Byrne, and Tom Waits -- brings a quirky and epic quality to his tracks. Featuring a very Nina Simone-esque performance by vocalist Miche Braden, Holiday's most famous number, "Strange Fruit," is magnified by Cohen into a brooding film noir that ultimately descends into an apocalyptic barrage of screams and wails, with Carter and Braden manifesting all the anguish and anger the song implies. It is unclear if the orchestra and band recorded at the same time, but even if they did not, Carter's stellar rhythm section featuring pianist John Hicks, drummer Victor Lewis, and bassist Peter Washington lends an organic quality to the proceedings that feels natural and lithe. Continuing to display a unique and singular vision, Carter has crafted a fittingly urbane, elegant, and unnerving album that celebrates both Holiday's haunting spirituality and earthy sexuality.

Editorial Reviews

Entertainment Weekly
This Billie Holiday tribute offers sometimes lush, always thoughtful contexts in which he focuses on melody and story line.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/11/2003
Label:
Sony
UPC:
0696998903265
catalogNumber:
89032

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

James Carter   Primary Artist,Bass Clarinet,Baritone Saxophone,Soprano Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone,Double Bass,Sax (Mezzo-Soprano)
John Hicks   Piano
Victor Lewis   Drums
Myung Hi Kim   Violin
Jeanne LeBlanc   Cello
Sandra Park   Violin,Concert Master
Erik Ralske   French Horn
Bruce Wang   Cello
Peter Washington   Bass
Sarah Seiver   Cello
Erik Charleston   Vibes,Wind Machine
Ann Kim   Violin
Eileen Moon   Cello
Mina Smith   Cello
Sharon Yamada   Violin
Robert Rinehart   Viola
Phil Myers   French Horn
Elizabeth Dyson   Cello
Lisa Kim   Violin
Jeff Nelson & Covenant   Bass Trombone
Sarah Kim   Violin
Tom Rosenthal   Viola

Technical Credits

Victor Herbert   Composer
Cab Calloway   Composer
Buddy Johnson   Composer
Vincent Youmans   Composer
Yves Beauvais   Producer
Don Byas   Composer
James Carter   Arranger
Greg Cohen   Arranger,String Conductor
Dubin   Composer
Danny Kopelson   Engineer
Cassius Richmond   Arranger,String Arrangements
Billy Strayhorn   Composer
Buster Harding   Composer
Nancy Sacks   Illustrations
Edward Eliscu   Composer
Billy Rose   Composer
Lewis Allan   Composer
Roy Jacobs   Composer
R. Jacobs   Composer

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