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Kenny Carr: Sound the Alarm

Shout bands, mainly from the Southeast, have been dominating the gospel circuit since the late ’20s. Their instrumentation is usually comprised of very low horns plus trap set, and one or more members sing. There’s no set pattern to the music, and the only constant is the musicians’ religious fervor. That’s what motivates Sound the Alarm (DT 8:18), the latest release by Kenny Carr and the Tigers. The group consists of three trombones, baritone horn, bass horn (providing the bass line), piano and drums. There are many uncredited ‘bone solos; one can only assume they’re played by the leader, Carr, who also plays a second piano. There is one so-so guest singer, Horace Brown. But guest trombonist Wycliffe Gordon is unforgettable. Featured on “Brass Glory” and “Sound the Alarm,” his tailgating tones are a breath of fresh air on the first; his sense of humor is perfect counterpoint to bass hornist Raymond Tate on the second. Despite Carr’s fine writing, the bottom-heavy instrumentation of four horns proves to be extremely dense. That density tends to become lethargic in “Coming Home,” where an uncredited string bassist suddenly appears. “We Worship,” a very pretty tune by Carr, offers him the chance to show his pianistic skills.

Originally Published