James Carter was first introduced to Roanoke as the energetic saxophonist whose artistry and inventive flair captivated audiences at the Jefferson Center's tribute to Don Pullen last January. He now returns to Jazz Club as the featured artist with his own original tunes and organ trio. Joined by Gerard Gibbs on organ and Leonard King on drums, Carter takes us to the melting point of jazz, blues, and soul with a masterful instinct for the perfect riff and full-muscled musical prowess.
The rare musician who has mastered a family of reed instruments, from soprano saxophone to contrabass clarinet, James Carter began playing saxophone at age 11. Before he was twenty, Carter left his hometown of Detroit to play under the auspices of Lester Bowie in New York, where he mesmerized the jazz world. From his earliest recordings, he has been hailed as a significant and powerful new musical force in jazz—leading Rolling Stone to assert, “saxophonist James Carter is as near as jazz gets nowadays to a Young Turk—not some ironically avant-post-rock experimentalist but a cocky scene stealer with…a knack for coming up with noticeable records.”
The winner multiple downbeat awards—as well as one of America’s highest cultural awards, The Dr. Alaine Locke Award, given annually to individuals who have provided exemplary service and leadership in the promotion of African-American culture—Carter is a supreme soloist whose music has been described as electrifying, fresh, stimulating, and utterly unconventional.
With his organ trio, Carter reinvents the form that has reigned as jazz's meat-and-potatoes vehicle for blues-drenched blowing. His virtuosic saxophone chops elevate the trio to a rarefied realm defined by delectable soul and consistently inspired group interplay. "You have to be totally comfortable wherever," Carter says. "I feel that music equals life... [T]here's tremendous beauty in cross-pollinations of music and influences."
Featuring the lithe and muscular keyboard work of Detroit's rising B3 star Gerard Gibbs and the propulsive drum support of veteran Motor City trap master Leonard King Jr, Carter's organ trio is his longest running and most cohesive band. "Gerard and Leonard are consummate musicians who have shaped the music at every level...," says Carter. "We all… go out into the world and deal with whatever musical merriment we have, and when we come back as this particular group, we bring our musical experiences back with us."