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James Carter Salutes Holiday

Saxophonist James Carter will break three years of silence in November. Silence on record, that is. The versatile reed man hasn’t put a new CD in stores since 2000, when he did double duty by dropping both Layin’ in the Cut and the fantastic Django Reinhardt tribute Chasin’ the Gypsy. Paying homage to a jazz behemoth once again, Carter recorded his forthcoming disc, Gardenias for Lady Day (out Nov. 11), in memory of singer Billie Holiday, hence the album’s title. Holiday’s official jazz nickname (they all have one) is Lady Day, and her favorite flower was the gardenia.

Gardenias will come out via Columbia Records (Carter has split with Atlantic, his label of nearly 10 years) and includes eight tunes of lovely saxophonics, string arrangements and solid riddims. Four of these are songs Holiday recorded herself—”(I Wonder) Where Our Love Has Gone,” “I’m in the Lowdown Groove,” “Strange Fruit” and “More Than You Know”—the rest are tunes Carter thinks Ms. Day would dig on if she were alive today, including a version of Billy Strayhorn’s “A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing” and Don Byas’ “Gloria.”

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