The new "PROJECT X" cd was produced by Earl Carter, Glenn Douglas, Groove Attic and features some of the top musicians in the mid-atlantic area. A must add for your CD collection.
PAST ARTICLE FROM SMOOTH VIEWS PRINTED BEFORE THE RELEASE OF HIS NEW CD:
This month, OTS returns to Washington, DC to introduce you to guitarist Earl Carter. Here is a man who wears many hats. In addition to being a long established sideman, he is a front man who has three solo CDs to his credit. His most recent CD, My Paradise, was just released nationally in April of this year. He has five regular groups that he performs with. He’s also a talented song writer, who writes music for many genres, like contemporary jazz, R&B, gospel, hip-hop, pop and alternative. And, if that’s not enough, he’s a recording engineer and music producer, as well. (And, he does his own website, to boot!) This is a man who never stops working.
For Earl, it all began when, at the age of 11, he bought some books and taught himself how to play the guitar. Earl was strongly influenced by his brother, who was the first one in the family to play guitar, when they were coming up. He still considers his brother to be one of his strongest influences. His musical influences are an A list of master guitar players: Wes Montgomery, George Benson, Earl Klugh, and Jimi Hendrix. Two of his favorite players are Paul Jackson, Jr., and Ronnie Jordan. In addition to being friends with, and peers of, these two contemporary players, Earl considers them both as mentors. In addition to the guitar, Earl is fluent on the bass and the saxophone. “For the most part, until my last year, they weren’t really offering any guitar teachings in school, so I switched to the sax. I had some formal training on the sax in school.” He still plays bass occasionally, but the saxophone “is sitting in my recording studio,” he says with a chuckle.
Earl knew early on that he would make music his career. “I actually knew that I wanted to be a professional musician before I even started playing.” Earl began playing in local bands with other DC area musicians who, like Earl, would eventually gain national recognition, like sessions bass player Dwayne “Smitty” Smith and Wayne Bruce (guitarist for Maysa.)
Earl established himself in the DC area by playing in such local bands as E.U., which gained recognition with their song, “Da Butt,” from the Spike Lee movie School Daze. He was a member of the house band for Washington, DC-based BET, and played for many of their concerts. He was also co-music director for a cable TV talk show. “Many people have seen me in the background on television but never really paid attention to the guy back there strummin’ on the guitar.” Earl is a frequent member of Marcus Johnson’s performing and recording bands. He appears on several of Marcus’s releases including the DVD, In Person, and two CD’s, Live at Blues Alley, and Just Doing What I Do. Marcus knows how talented Earl is, and had this to say, “He is one of the funkiest guitarists in DC – if not the funkiest. His thoughtful lines never find their way out of the pocket and are always a key ingredient of my ‘neck factor.’ He knows exactly where to and not to play, which makes the soloist’s job easy. I sometimes just stop to hear what he’s doing. He’s that good.”
In addition to Marcus Johnson, Earl’s performed with artists such as Bobby Lyle, Michael Lington, Mike Phillips, Nick Colionne, Alyson Williams, and Jaared. He’s done spot work with Freddie Jackson, Angela Bofill, Regina Belle, Coolio, Bobby Humphrey, Pamela Williams, Gerald Veasley, Bob Baldwin, and many others. He’s done sessions work for Diddy’s recording studio. When a musician has played as extensively as Earl has, you wonder who they’d like to add to their resume. What would be the ultimate musical gig? For Earl Carter, two names immediately come to mind; the great Stanley Clarke, and the super talented Prince.
The Washington, DC metro area is home to a lot of talented musicians and artists. Earl would love to see this area become the next LA, NYC, or Atlanta, in terms of music and cohesiveness between musicians. To further that effort, he works closely with several other DC area musicians as part of an informal network. They work together and support one another within the music community.
When not playing music, he’s either writing, recording, producing, or distributing music, so the concept of free time doesn’t really exist for this man of many talents. “I am constantly grinding and usually get about three hours sleep each night….But, don’t get me wrong. It’s a good feeling being in demand, and having enough work to eat.”
And being in demand means Earl will continue to work as hard as he does, if not harder. As a recording engineer and producer, he will work with talented artists in his studio. He will also be involved with an upcoming new project by his former band, E.U. As a front man, he will begin working on another (his 4th) solo project. And, as a sideman, Earl will continue to play with some of the most talented names on the DC music scene, as well as the hottest national acts. Look for Earl here in the DC area, or backing some of your favorite headliners.
- Mary Bentley