Gardenias for Lady Day

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Matt Collar
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, ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Matt Collar
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.
Entertainment Weekly
This Billie Holiday tribute offers sometimes lush, always thoughtful contexts in which he focuses on melody and story line.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/11/2003
  • Label: Sony
  • UPC: 696998903265
  • Catalog Number: 89032

Album Credits

Performance Credits
James Carter Primary Artist, Bass Clarinet, Baritone Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Baritone, 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
Kitaro Composer
Cab Calloway Composer
Buddy Johnson Composer
Vincent Youmans Composer
Yves Beauvais Producer
Don Byas Composer
James Carter Arranger
Greg Cohen Arranger, String Conductor
Al Dubin Composer
Danny Kopelson Engineer
Cassius Richmond Arranger, String Arrangements
Billy Strayhorn Composer
Mark Wilder Mastering
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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