James Carter is a powerhouse musician and one of the most admired saxophonists of his generation, garnering plaudits for his role in helping to propel jazz full tilt into the future over the past twenty-five years. His music is fueled by deep respect and intimate knowledge of the jazz tradition.
Born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1969, James Carter began playing saxophone at age 11, first recorded with a Detroit student ensemble in 1986 and, by 1991, had recorded with legendary trumpeter Lester Bowie on The Organizer and contributed to the 1991 collection The Tough Young Tenors. Mastering a family of reed instruments, from soprano to contra-bass saxophones to contra-bass and bass clarinets, James Carter mesmerized the jazz world after arriving in New York City in 1988 to play under the auspices of Lester Bowie. His debut recording, JC On The Set, released in Japan when Carter was a mere 23 years old, heralded the arrival of a significant and powerful new musical force in jazz.
The Hot Club of Detroit has undergone an evolution since Perri formed the group in 2003 with fellow students at Wayne State University in Detroit. The ensemble rapidly accumulated accolades and audiences over the next several years, including a first-place win in the 2004 Detroit International Jazz Festival competition and multiple Detroit Music Awards. Their 2006 self-titled debut, while slightly more traditional than later releases, established their broad-minded approach to the Django resurgence.
Since that time, it’s become increasingly evident that their inspiration comes as much from the spirit of Reinhardt’s playing as by its much-copied sound. While they’ve maintained some recognizable elements – the absence of drums, the percussive “la pompe” rhythm guitar technique – the Motor City quintet apply those elements to a decidedly modern sound, refusing to be constrained by allegiance to some time-honored, purist ideal.