Music is the expression of the individual. When we listen to a musician, in public or on one of his albums, besides the pleasure in hearing musical notes that caress our ears on different tempi, we also get an idea of the person behind the process. The first time I listened to Joe Carter was to chronicle his recording, Um Abraco No Rio (An Embrace of Rio) for Jazz Hot Magazine. This first meeting allowed me to discover the delicacy of his expression facilitated by the presence of Brasilian harmonica player Mauricio Einhorn.
Joe Carter’s guitar gave a pleasant color to the occasion and advanced the personal compositions. Then came DUETS, where the strings of his guitar crossed with those of double bassist Nilson Matta. With always so much aestheticism and purity in his expression, the guitarist confirmed all the higher evoked good. It was in 2004, in Bastia for the Jazz Equinox festival that I met Joe Carter in person. With only his instrument, he treated us to a public feast of good taste for the musical connoisseur. But more than his music, it is the profound otherness, which seduced me. His perceptible tenderness in his manner of playing comes true at first glance and in repeated listening. Today he delivers to us a new opus, where we find all the things that characterize him both musically and humanely. Joe is accompanied by David Finck, a much appreciated double bassist due to his playing with Badi Assad, Jerry Bergonzi, Bobby Watson, Peter Cincotti, Paquito D’Rivera, Nenna Freelon, Tom Harrell, Carly Simon, Sinead O’Connor, Natalie Cole, Rod Stewart, Ivan Lins, Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney and Andre Previn. The percussionist Ze Mauricio, whose credits include Joanne Brackeen, Eddie Gomez, Paquito D’Rivera, Nilson Matta, Vic Juris, Romero Lubanbo, Nana Vasconcelas, Leny Andrade and Wynton Marsalis, adds the colors auri e verde to complete this trio and by bringing to it the touches that are so indispensable to the Brazilian expression. In addition, with Both Sides Of The Equator, we find the beauty in that part of the music that is so valuable to the Jazz musician --- the improvisation. The crystalline notes of Joe’s instrument make us appreciate these issues that all three musicians tackle. Joe’s sentences on Nos E O Mar evoke the sound of a piano at times. His developments meet the percussion sounds of Ze Mauricio, while David Finck installs a strong foundation. All of this technique and imposing presence is revealed in the next two subjects: I’ve Never Been In Love Before, where the bass of Finck establishes an important element of the dialogue for the decorations of the six-strings and especially in the guitar solo of A.C. Jobim’s Mojave. And a particular mention is in order for Viktor With a K, dedicated to Joe’s first son. The enjoyment is apparent in this composition, which smells sweetly of the samba. Joe knows how to easily cross from a slow register to the other and still preserve the same sincerity in Blame It On My Youth. With Ponta de Areia and Valse de Euridice, Gilberto Gil’s homeland is widely exposed with an incredible delicacy. The friend, Mauricio Einhorn, is present through one of his compositions, Batida Diferente. Young and Foolish constitutes another big moment of emotion in these selections. Little by little the Jazz side of the artist, widely developed beside Art Farmer, Cecil Payne, Lee Konitz and others (Art Farmer, Lee Konitz With The Joe Carter Quartet and Trio) advances. Therefore it is not surprising to find Bill Evans’ Waltz For Debby in the program of this production. The exposed voicings instill in us an atmosphere in which the single notes punctuate advantageously and settle us in this intimate setting that the artist wants. After a last bend by South America with Carlos Lyra’s Nada Como Ter Amor, the album ends with Variations On A Theme By Bill Evans. With his guitar focusing on perhaps the most important pianist/ accompanist of Miles Davis, the CD comes to an end. With this album, the dad of Viktor admitted the light to our hearts and our ears. The brightness of a Brasilian sun conjugated to the love of a fertile and sincere being.
- Michel Maestracci, Jazz Hot Magazine FRANCE
The title of this recording came about when I realized I had selected tunes that could be considered the best of both worlds --- classic tunes from the North American Songbook and standards from the Brasilian repertoire, with a couple of originals thrown into the mix. The North American songs are standards I have been playing for years, with two of the songs associated with one of musical heroes, pianist Bill Evans. I had written and chosen my original, Variations on a Theme by Bill Evans, without realizing I had also chosen Young & Foolish and Waltz For Debby. The Brasilian tunes include some obscurities: a Jobim waltz, Mojave, and a tune I had heard on a Rosinha da Valenca recording, Tema do Boneco de Palha. Rosinha was always one of my favorite guitarists, someone who could swing hard but could also draw you into the music with her intimate and soulful touch. Valse de Euridice was a favorite of another of my heroes (maybe I should re-title this CD?), Baden Powell, who played and recorded this tune many times. Most of my recordings and performances always include a tune or two from my pal. Mauricio Einhorn. Here we do his classic tune, Batida Diferente, The Different Beat, recorded by Cannonball Adderly and many, many others. Mauricio and I go back to my first trip to Rio in 1988. I had a three-week gig at the top jazz club at the time, People Jazz Bar. Mauricio was the first person I knew I had to seek out during my stay in Brasil. We became fast friends and have performed, recorded together and even did a duo tour of Europe a few years back.
This recording is also a return of sorts for me. My first recording, Too Marvelous For Words, was a duo recording with bassist Rufus Reid, all the way back in 1980. Most of my early performances and recordings were duos and trios. I always liked the intimacy of the small group and the fact that it forces you to really listen to your partner or partners. The original idea for this recording was to make it a guitar/ bass duo with my long time friend, bassist David Finck, the guy of whom pianist Sir Andre Previn has said “There is no one who is as good a jazz bass player and collaborator”. While I was still in the planning stages for the recording, I had done some gigs with percussionist Ze Mauricio and I knew he could really add to the group dynamic. When I heard the first series of playbacks, I knew my hunch was correct.
This recording was completed with the generous financial support of several people, who pledged and donated money to the cause. I am deeply indebted them. They are (in no particular order): Robert Meloni, Carmen Cartiglia, Linda Cartiglia, Edita Davtyan, Nicole Pasternak, Skip Neumann, Luiz Simas, Frank Forte, Shiro Hirai, Maggie Clarke, Geoff Morrow, Maria Ottavia, Ruth Ahlers, Margaret Waage, Wendy Levy, Jeff Fuller, Jake Epstein, Scott Gilliam, Marc Dabney, Al Cardone, Hernan Yepes, Han Nguyen, Bill Holford, Andy Mayo, Bernice Campfield, Mark Molinari, Reg Schwager, W. Peter Strouse, Maria Tcherni, Tom Kelly, Alex Edland, Lynne Patnode, Tony Desposito, Pam Gruber, John Palmer, Tom Wolff, Carl Barney, Bruce Hector, Janice Miller Ragonese, Jeff LeBlanc, Kathryn Voskuil, Kamakshi Srinivasan, Jeanne Coscia, Eric Elias, Will DeSola, Cris Ramon and Jennifer Curran. Thank you, one and all.
- Joe Carter