New Purchases: Longineau Parsons, James Carter

From: Steve Catanzaro (
Date: Tue Oct 10 2000 - 03:16:16 MET DST

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    Longineau Parsons; Spaced: Collected Works, 1980-1999. Ubiquity, 1999. Wow! What would it do to your view of the universe if you found out one day that some of the greatest music was made by guyz (or galz) u never even heard of? Parsons is a trumpeter who probably fits into only one category safely, that being "obscure."

    But get your samplers ready, cuz this is some real, REAL funky stuff here. This is a complilation of 11 tracks recorded over a 19 year period. Yes, there are 2 utterly wankified cuts (Hannibal's March and Emerald Paradise) but the rest of it is astounding. Parsons plays trumpet and a whole bunch of whacky sounding recorders. This is high-energy jazz, much more melodic and structured than Ornette, but with the same freaky feeling of exploration.

    There are also 2 remixes, by P'taah and Amalgamations of Sounds. P'taah is cool, but the AofS has about the same effect as Pamela Anderson in a baggy sweater; nice, but not as impressive as it could be...

    James Carter. Layin' The Cut. Atlantic, 2000. Well, you probably can't drop the name of a heavier cat these dayz than James Carter, as in, "No, man, I can't hang wit' u, I'm on my way to check out James Carter at the Vanguard."

    OK, but, what does a modern day sax phenom actually sound like? Maybe you've been scared to check him out in his "straight ahead" context, so he's bringing it to ya, in an all-electric, funkified, setting. First, the drums are mixed really low, kind of like in those old Grant Green does James Brown Blue Note trax; that's disappointing. Second, the tunes sound like they took 3 times longer to play than they did to actually compose. (That would mean the 7 tracks were written in about 2 and a half minutes each.)

    But that said, this guy IZ in fact a phenomonon, drawing incredible sounds from his instrument. This ranges from a digeridoo, a finger rubbing a wine glass, a plucking stratocaster, 2 (or maybe 3!) kids trying to hit the same pitch, etc., and that's just the first measure! Predominately, though, he has a shredding midrange sound that obliterates anything in its path. In fact, Carter's attack is so hard-edged it makes the 2 electric guitar players alongside him appear softer than Tim Meadows looking at a Sally-Jesse Raphael poster.

    If you've got a roommate you don't like, play this for 'em, real loud, on the morning after an all-niter.... that'll do.

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