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James Carter: Live at Baker’s Keyboard Lounge

James Carter illustration

James Carter is sure to win over the skeptics with this CD. He almost got me, and I pride myself in having the jazz world’s most sensitive hype detector. And really, who can resist? Carter’s just so good. He’s practically perfect. What’s to doubt? I was ready to pronounce him King of Jazz after the first track, before David Murray slapped me upside the head and brought me to my senses a few tunes in.

Recorded over several nights in June 2001, Live at Baker’s Keyboard Lounge is a rollicking session that captures the loose vibe of a nightclub set to near perfection. Given Carter’s history of ancestor worship, you’d expect a tribute-and of course J.C. doesn’t disappoint. Only this time the homage is made less explicit, and it doesn’t involve a dead legend, rather the very alive and kicking bebop scene in Carter’s hometown of Detroit.

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