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Layin' In The Cut


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Performer Notes
  • Personnel: James Carter (saxophone); Marc Ribot, Jef Lee Johnson (guitar); Jamaaladeen Tacuma (bass); G. Calvin Weston (drums).
  • Recorded at The Magic Shop, New York, New York.
  • Personnel: James Carter (saxophone); Jef Lee Johnson, Marc Ribot (electric guitar); Jamaaladeen Tacuma (electric bass); Calvin Weston (drums).
  • Recording information: Magic Shop, New York, NY.
  • Photographer: Lorenzo Agius.
  • For fans of the late-'70s/early-'80s "harmolodic" jazz/funk scene that included Ronald Shannon Jackson, James Blood Ulmer, and Ornette Coleman, LAYIN' IN THE CUT will feel like a welcome visit from a quirky old friend. While young sax lion James Carter had previously shown himself to be an eclectic, progressive jazzman unafraid to fly into funk, reggae, or whatever else the muse demanded, this album marks a new direction for him (if not for jazz). Here Carter surrounds himself with some of the aforementioned scene's luminaries, including former Ulmer drummer G. Calvin Weston, Jackson guitarist Jef Lee Johnson (who scraps grittily and enthusiastically with Marc Ribot throughout), and Coleman/Ulmer bass alumnus Jamaladeen Tacuma.
  • Most tracks bear a funky, polyrythmic underpinning, courtesy of Tacuma's slippery but always in-the-pocket maneuvers and Johnson's Clyde Stubblefield-meets-Elvin Jones slamming. Over this, Carter spars with the two guitarists in a series of inspired, memorable catfights. Each player shifts between angular accompaniment, and brash, jagged solos that cut the air mercilessly and explore the outermost possibilities of his weapon of choice. If you're sick of endless bebop rehashes, take this adventurous, invigorating album for your tonic.
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (1/4/01, p.106) - Included in Rolling Stone's Top 50 Albums of 2000

Rolling Stone (8/3/00, p.56) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...Impressive....Carter is at home pumping percussive funk as he is rolling out off-buoyant swing. His distinctly hard-edged embouchure is well-suited to this harmoloidic style..."

Entertainment Weekly (6/9/00, p.79) - "...Finds [Carter] getting funky and jamming with a lean R&B band, making for an altogether comfortable fit." - Rating: B+

Alternative Press (10/00, p.86) - 4 out of 5 - "...Carter plays his ass off....the band synthesize the raw urgency of [Ornette Coleman's] Prime Time with amore groove-oriented approach..."

The Wire (8/00, p.46) - "...Runs the gamut from stone cold funk to simmering Latin grooves. Carter's quintet...not only jabs and prods at every turn, but creates a cohesive ensemble sound in the process..."

CMJ (6/12/00, p.29) - "...Carter's saxophone remains at the center of the action, continuously driving the music with a potent mix of skronk and groove."

Down Beat (10/00, p.64) - 3.5 stars out of 5 - "...A harmolodic-cum-funk homecoming....This music is the perfect vehicle for [his] repertoire of high-end skronks, tongue slaps, growls and outrageous, slashing glisses..."
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