A one-time sideman to the likes of Freddie Hubbard, Dizzy Gillespie, Bobby Hutcherson and Jackie McLean, Carvin has also been a revered drum teacher over the past 30 years who helped shape the conceptions of such renowned drummers as Cindy Blackman, Ralph Peterson, Nasheet Waits, Rodney Green and Billy Martin. With a potent crew consisting of pianist Carlton Holmes, Carvin’s regular pianist for the past 15 years, and two youngbloods in tenor saxophonist Marcus Strickland and bassist Dezron Douglas (in his first recording session), the Texas-born drummer deftly shapes this session from behind the kit. And whether he’s swinging ferociously, as on the adrenalized closer “Hello Young Lovers” or laying down an infectious groove-happy shuffle, as on the Ravel-derived melody “The Lamp Is Low,” Carvin drives the band with his relentless beat and irrepressible spirit. But he is also capable of playing brushes with Zen-like restraint, as he demonstrates on a delicate, slowly evolving 13-minute rendition of Charles Lloyd’s meditative “Forest Flower,” which has the technically accomplished Strickland playing in a far more relaxed mode than usual.
Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.