Saturday, February 20, 2016

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
James Carter's Organ Trio and more

This week, let's check out some videos featuring the versatile saxophonist James Carter, who will be back in St. Louis with his organ trio to perform starting Wednesday, March 2 through Saturday, March 5 at Jazz at the Bistro.

Carter, who was here most recently in 2013 for a week with organist Dr. Lonnie Smith at the Bistro, concentrates mostly on tenor and soprano saxes, but also plays alto and baritone saxes, flute, bass clarinet, and pretty much any other single-reed instrument he can get his hands on.

The 47-year-old Detroit native also covers a wide range stylistically, ranging from 1930s-style swing to gutbucket blues to more modern, abstract sounds depending on the musical context. And also of local interest, Carter has some St. Louis connections, having gotten his first big break as a teenaged sideman with the late trumpeter and St. Louis native Lester Bowie, later working with both saxophonist Julius Hemphill and the World Saxophone Quartet.

Today, you can see Carter playing in several different contexts, starting with the first two videos, which feature complete shows from his long-running trio with organist Gerard Gibbs and drummer Leonard King.

Up above, you can see their set from the 2014 Jazz à la Villette festival in France, and after the jump, there's another show from 2014, recorded at the LantarenVenster theater in Rotterdam, The Netherlands and seen here in two parts.

After that, you can see an excerpt from the trio's show in October 2015 at the BRIC JazzFest in Brooklyn, NYC, catching them in mid-song delivering some crowd-pleasing pyrotechnics.

The other three videos feature recent performances from Carter with other ensembles. There's a full show from his quintet, recorded in 2015 at the Saxperience festival in São Paulo, Brazil, followed by a couple of performances recorded in June 2015 at the Festival Django Reinhardt in Samois-sur-Seine, France.

In the penultimate clip, Carter can be seen playing the 1930s chestnut "Bye Bye Blues" in an informal jam session with violinist Mathias Levey and guitarists Romane and Pierre Manetti, and in the final video, he's soloing on soprano sax with the Amazing Keystone Big Band on a twisty arrangement of Reinhardt's own "Rythme Futur".

For more insight into Carter's influences and musical thinking, check out the "Before & After" blindfold test he did last year for Jazz Times magazine.

You can see the rest of today's videos after the jump...

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