This article is from 2006.
Detroit-born saxophonist James Carter is a tough proposition for those who like their musicians in neat categories. He started out playing with jazz iconoclast Lester Bowie of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, then joined the figurehead of neo-bop classicism, Wynton Marsalis. He has released several albums, which, on the surface, look like retro-style tributes. But scratch that surface and something different and more unpredictable lies just beneath.
It's perhaps indicative of that ambiguity that even his 'tributes' aren't the usual suspects for a saxophone player. Chasin' The Gypsy (2000), for example, was inspired by Reinhardt and Grappelli and the music of the 1935-45 era, while his most recent disc, Gardenias For Lady Day, was a heartfelt homage to Billie Holiday.
'Billie is the quintessential vocalist for me, particularly in the musical relationship that she shared with Lester Young. To me, vocalists and instrumentalists, particularly horn players, have often shared a history of musical osmosis where we influence each other.'
For this long-awaited debut at the Edinburgh festival, Carter will front a classic-format funky organ trio with Terry Gibbs on Hammond B3 and Leonard King on drums, but you can bet he will pull out something unexpected in the process. (Kenny Mathieson)
Queen's Hall, 4 Aug, 7.30pm, £16.50 (£13.50).