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Present Tense

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 20, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

James Carter is back in town. One of the most admired saxophonists of his generation makes his debut with Present Tense, an album of uncompromising, swinging jazz. While it's music that has its roots in the jazz tradition, it's also forward looking. How else could it be, with players like Victor Lewis on drums, D. D. Jackson on piano and Dwight Adams on trumpet? asks Carter. The all-star cast, which also has James Genus on bass, includes guest appearances by Rodney Jones on guitar and Eli Fountain on percussion. The album is produced by Michael Cuscuna, who sensed a challenge to capture the sheer range of Carter's enormous talent and his mastery of jazz idiom, which he felt had not really been adequately represented on earlier albums.

From the Artist

"I titled this album Present Tense because it captures where I am right now," says Carter, who plays a trinity of saxophones (soprano, tenor and baritone), flute and bass clarinet. "This is what appeals to me right now. I've always had eclectic tastes, so the styles of these pieces are diverse. But I'm also dealing with more lyricism on this album, and I'm making more concise statements in the music versus playing out for 10 or 11 minutes. Some of the tunes here are in the four-minute range."
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 20, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Emarcy
  • ASIN: B0013NFMO2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #167,026 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

By S. A. Lewandowski on May 30, 2009
Format: Audio CD
A master and his muses are blowin' a gale of musical winds here. James Carter,Quintet and guests are playin' to a higher level than we've come to expect from most music played in any style, format or venue. Let's not quibble about whether this is modern, avant garde, bop, post modern jazz, ballads, old or new, jazz. "Present Tense is music as art. The medium is the songs chosen. Between James Carter's masterful facility on each horn played and Michael Cuscuna's production we hear art for the ages. When James Carter reaches into his hard earned armamentum of sounds to convey his thoughts within the song I believe most listeners understand what James his saxes, flute, and that lovely bass clarinet are conveying. And the other members of this outing are up to the task as well. Dwight Adams' trumpet plays a perfect foil and complement to Carter's saxophones and woodwinds and the rhythm section of D.D. Jackson, James Genus and the always superb Victor Lewis are spot on. (This is the album that Roy Hargrove should have made instead of mailing in the mostly mediocre "Earfood")There is such a wide range of sounds, rhythms, ideas and feelings here that almost any listener should find an attention grabber with the first listen through the progression of tunes. "Rapid Shave" from Stanley Turrentine's song book is a flag-waving high energy tune that will have you smiling and moving from the opening beat...dance if you like 'cause the trumpet-saxophone unison and interplay here are certainly doin' it. James Carter's bass clarinet takes center stage on Bro' Dolphy and I think Eric Dolphy would certainly be honored by this particular dedication. D. D.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
This is a fine Modern Jazz CD, which has enough traditional elements to make it appeal to lovers of music across a broad spectrum. Tenderly is the most obvious nod to tradition, but the album is great throughout at combining the past with the present like a skilled Alchemist. The best highlights, for me, are when pianist D.D.Jackson takes center stage. I'd recommend checking out his CDs to get a taste of what wonderful composing and playing still exist nowadays in Jazz.
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Format: Audio CD
James Carter starts "Present Tense" with a sort of juke-joint blues in "Rapid Shave". Trumpeter Dwight Adams takes the first solo, D. D. Jackson takes the second, then Carter plays a baritone solo. From the beginning, you can tell J. C. is going to rein himself in a little. Carter's greatest strength and weakness as a saxophonist is his virtuosic ability to play anything he wants. Sometimes, what he wants isn't what the song needs. Dwight Adams is a good foil for Carter - he gives Carter a chance to hand the reins over to someone else for a bit, and when Carter wants to cut loose, it sounds better when someone else is along for the ride. The only other place I've heard Dwight Adams is on "In Carterian Fashion", a Carter CD from 1998, and he doesn't make as strong an impression on that CD. "Bro. Dolphy" is a ballad on bass clarinet, and gets wilder toward the end. "Pour Que Ma Vie Demeure" is a Django Reinhardt song done as a ballad. "Sussa Nita" enlists guitarist Rodney Jones and percussionist Eli Fountain to help make bossa nova sounds. It's a little too smooth until J. C. plays a forceful tenor solo with his broad distinctive tone. The rest of the band livens up nicely. "Song Of Delilah" is an old song, and after the "Middle Eastern" intro is over, it has some nice bouncy interplay between Carter and Adams. Bassist James Genus and drummer Victor Lewis do a nice job of meeting the demands of each song. "Dodo's Bounce" features Carter's flute. "Shadowy Sands" is a midtempo tune with bass clarinet. "Hymn Of The Orient" continues the theme of Middle Eastern song titles, but this one is a fast Gigi Gryce song with a quick melody. J. C. features the baritone sax, and ends the song with a Lynyrd Skynyrd-esque validictory statement. "Bossa J. C.Read more ›
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