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James Carter Quintet - Lookin' at Lock: The Music of Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis

1st November 2024

'Eddie Davis was a bop stylist whose brawny tone, convulsive energy and reservoir of licks laid down a gladiatorial challenge to any horn player who dared encounter him on a stage or in a recording studio. James Carter displays a similarly ruthless edge, his tenor—one of a contingent of wind instruments that he’s mastered—ripping through chord changes with unabashed vigour and lusty abandon. In this show, titled “Lookin’ at the Lock,” Carter tips his hat to his mighty predecessor as he leads a charging quintet featuring Satish Robertson on trumpet. Prepare for plenty of sweat and tears of exhilaration.' (Steve Futterman)

Ticket prices

£40 – £60

Line-up

JAMES CARTER – saxes
SATISH ROBERTSON – trumpet
GERARD GIBBS – piano
HILLIARD GREENE – bass
ELMAR FREY – drums

It was Basie Jam #3 that Carter was first introduced to Davis' playing. 'The authority, the twisted phrases which sometimes sounded as if he was playing backwards immediately caught my attention throughout this album.' He met Dr Jazz in 1985 and later learned of his spearheading the soul-jazz movement, his co-leader band with Johnny Griffin and being the straw boss in Count Basie's Orchestra. It was a personal trip for his 100th birthday that Carter decided to go on and tell the story of this forgotten titan of the tenor sax.

From moonlit ballads to funky workouts to the most cerebral kind of post-bop, in an intimate club or on a sprawling festival stage, the Detroit-born saxophone master can seem to deliver all of jazz history in a single set. Carter harbours a command of his instruments that is complete even when he appears on the verge of shattering his horn, overblowing rapid-fire lines to otherworldly effect, he’s evoking early jazz, jump blues, the avant-garde and other lessons residing inside his vast, scholarly knowledge of the music of the African-American experience.

Like Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis, Carter is an aggressive and highly entertaining player with prodigious technique and an endless supply of chops!

— Will Friedwald