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Reviews: James Carter: Gardenias for Lady Day

Reviews: 1

Review by miguelito54 October 28, 2012
Performance:   Sonics:  
This is no simple tribute to Billie Holiday presenting some chestnuts from her songbook - this is James Carter's very personal view of a world of sounds inspired by the great Lady Day. Accompanied by a 6-2-2 string section and a rhythm trio, he plays his full range of saxophones and stylistic eclecticisms, but without any gimmickry, although he is not afraid of excursions into free-form territory - this demands the listener's full attention as it covers the full palette of emotions from love and beauty to anger and despair.
The balance between the soloist, the strings and the rhythm section is excellent, sound is full and direct and clear, but not too much in your face, it allows you to dive deep into the music and sound. This may be one of Carter's most musical outings - when he is challenged by good players and/or the perfect musical setting, he is a no-nonsense improvisor with the whole history of jazz saxophone at his command - this is exactly what you get here. The string arrangements (by Greg Cohen and Cassius Richmond) enhance the expressive qualities without becoming obstrusive or overly sweet - IIRC reviews were mixed, but I consider this album a musical success.
The CD layer contains two bonus tracks:
9. You're A Lucky Guy - 10. Lil' Hat's Odyssey (the CD credits list them in the wrong sequence)

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