Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide by Review Date: 2011-10-14


James Carter Organ Trio: At the Crossroads (EmArcy, 2011) This occasional unit's live 2005 Out of Nowhere was a honking session, beefing up the young world-champeen multisaxer with Hamiet Bluiett's bari master class and Blood Ulmer's harmolodic Son House shtick. The most luscious beef on this more contained studio job is provided by guest singer Miche Braden sinking her chops into Fluffy Hunter's playfully filthy "Walking Blues" and a lounge through Muddy Waters's "Ramblin' Blues." The lounge feel is shored up by sometime guitarist Bruce Edwards, who if he ain't Ulmer at least ain't Jim Hall. Gotta admit it's a relief, though, when sometime guitarist Brandon Ross disrupts the long Julius Hemphill-penned closer. Even the organist, who does his job manfully throughout and whose name is Gerard Gibbs, avants around on that one. B+

Charlie Parker: In a Soulful Mood (Music Club, 1996) Compiled by UK music journo Roy Carr, this budget take on Parker's Dial sessions is findable cheap used and has become a favorite of mine by the odd strategy of skipping his twistiest heads. Although the two-disc Legendary Dial Masters is now collector-priced, longer Dial collections designated 1 and 2 are buyable as separate items, and the first consists almost entirely of originals that include the omitted "Dexterity," "Bongo Bop," and "Dewey Square" although not "Scrapple From the Apple." Worth owning. But in keeping with a generic title the label employed for many lesser jazz comps, what happens here is different. Midway through, originals give way to standards that begin with an "All the Things You Are" that's as inspired as Parker ever got and damn right soulful. If he'd had the strength of mind, he could have broken pop as the king of the intelligent makeout instrumental without getting near a violin. A

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