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New Jazz Album has Vaudeville, Hip-Hop Influences

James Carter's new album, <em>Present Tense</em>, takes some cues from vaudeville and hip-hop sounds.
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James Carter's new album, Present Tense, takes some cues from vaudeville and hip-hop sounds.

Fresh Air jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews Present Tense, the new album by saxophonist James Carter. On tenor, baritone and soprano sax, Carter touches on influences as diverse as vaudeville and hip-hop.

Carter's early influences included tenor saxophonist Carlos Wesley Byas. Byas played a bebop-style jazz with the likes of legendary jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. Taping Byas' tunes from the radio, Carter developed his own jazz blend while paying homage to Byas, for whom he has "mad respect."

Present Tense is Carter's ninth album. He has also recorded dozens of tracks with other jazz artists.

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Kevin Whitehead
Kevin Whitehead is the jazz critic for NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross. Currently he reviews for The Audio Beat and Point of Departure.