James Carter, Detroit Symphony Hall, April 7th, 2017

 In Gig Reviews

There aren’t many jazz musicians that haven’t been influenced by Detroit saxophonist James Carter. Carter has a talent for pushing the limits of what a saxophone was meant to do. Born in Detroit, Michigan January 3rd, 1969, Carter began playing saxophone at age 11.  Widely regarded as a virtuoso, he studied under Marcus Belgrave and toured with trumpeter Wynton Marsalis at age 17. Carter relocated to NYC in 1988 as a member of Lester Bowie’s band and has appeared with many of jazz’s legends including Cyrus Chestnut and Christian McBride. True to his roots in Detroit, Carter is quite active in the area and has been known to frequently appear locally at many Metro Detroit jam nights when he’s in town. If you’re a musician waiting for your turn to take the stage, if Carter shows up, you’ll be waiting a little longer, and will be pleased to sit and listen to what this man can do. Carter’s appearance on a stage usually occupied by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in April was a carefully rehearsed show with Gerard Gibbs playing a Hammond B3 organ and Alex White on drums. The three were extremely tight with Gibbs’ solos symbiotically complimenting Carter’s wide ranging saxophonic wizardry. Alex White kept things interesting and filled the gaps with his own creative energy expressed in a way that made the group seem a lot larger than a three piece. “A roaring virtuoso, saxophone scholar, and a showman,” according to Rolling Stone Magazine, Carter is currently touring Europe and China. Known far from the borders of his hometown, if the opportunity presents itself, don’t pass it up, you’ll be very richly rewarded.

Skip Barnes

Photo credit: David Sinclair
Used with permission from American International Artists

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