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Conversin' with the Elders
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Performer Notes
  • Personnel: James Carter (alto, tenor & baritone saxophones, bass clarinet); Larry Smith (alto saxophone); Buddy Tate (tenor saxophone, clarinet); Hamiet Bluiett (baritone saxophone); Lester Bowie, Harry "Sweets" Edison (trumpet); Craig Taborn (piano); Jaribu Shahid (bass); Tani Tabbal (drums).
  • Recorded at Power Station, New York, New York on October 2, 1995 and January 30 & February 5, 1996. Includes liner notes by James Carter.
  • Personnel: James Carter (bass clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone); Buddy Tate (clarinet, tenor saxophone); Hamiet Bluiett (baritone saxophone); Harry "Sweets" Edison , Lester Bowie (trumpet); Craig Taborn (piano); Tani Tabbal (drums).
  • Audio Mixers: Chris Albert; Joe Ferla.
  • Recording information: Power Station Studios, New York, NY (10/02/1995-02/05/1996).
  • Photographer: F. Scott Schafer.
  • Arranger: James Carter .
  • The brilliant saxophonist James Carter and his quartet (which also includes pianist Craig Taborn, bassist Jaribu Shahid and drummer Tani Tabbal) welcome some of Carter's musical heroes as guests throughout Conversin' with the Elders. Carter matches wits with the eccentric trumpeter Lester Bowie on "Freereggaehibop" and the often-hilarious "Atitled Valse"; he also features the legendary (but rarely recorded) Detroit altoist Larry Smith on "Parker's Mood," showcases Count Basie veterans Harry "Sweets" Edison and Buddy Tate on two swing standards apiece (Tate's work on clarinet during "Blue Creek" is memorable), and interacts with baritonist Hamiet Bluiett on "Naima" and an Anthony Braxton march. Switching between tenor, alto, baritone and bass clarinet, Carter makes each of his guests feel at home while pushing them to stretch themselves. A consistently colorful and generally swing-oriented set. ~ Scott Yanow
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (7/11-25/96, p.90) - "...Carter's tribute to his own heroes also announces the arrival of a new hero..."

Spin (7/96, pp.92-93) - 7 - Flawed Yet Worthy - "...Carter's got most of the history of jazz saxophone covered--his Coleman Hawkins is as good as his David Murray--and he wants to show you, bolstered here by jazz royalty from both sides of the fence....He doesn't just exemplify the idea of jazz's meeting its future; he acts it out like a pantomime..."

Entertainment Weekly (6/14/96, pp.56-58) - "...Carter shows off versatility, lucidity, and wit on his...album of collaborations with veteran artists ranging from the quiet old lion of swing understatement, Harry `Sweets' Edison, to the insurgent trumpeter Lester Bowie..." - Rating: B+

Q (9/96, p.110) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...an exhilarating to-hell-with-it jam on classics...some smouldering mid-tempo blues, and even an angular, staccato Anthony Braxton composition. Carter continues to show that he understands eclecticism isn't just a marketing term."

JazzTimes (9/96, p.97) - "...Pairing youth with masters has always been compelling in jazz, and Carter operates with his usual confidence, and in ample deference to these masters....these are all familiar pieces, yet the freshness is keen and rewarding."

Vibe (9/96, p.206) - "...Carter's fourth album as a leader, features a slew of radically reinterpreted standards made famous by saxophone greats of yesteryear....[a] powerful, neotraditional manifesto."

New York Times (Publisher) (7/9/96, p.C11) - "...he's the saxophonist of the moment, and CONVERSIN' WITH THE ELDERS...shows why: he uses an astonishing tone, hard and gritty, and his improvisations are almost shocking in their audacity..."
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