Gold Sounds (Brown Brothers Recordings) with pianist Cyrus Chestnut, bassist Reginald Veal and drummer Ali Jackson in a collaborative outing of covers of songs by the pop band Pavement.
Present Tense, Carter’s debut album on UMG’s EMARCY label was released in 2008. Produced by esteemed jazz sage Michael Cuscuna, the ten-pack of animated tunes range from jazz standards given new rhythmic traction to three originals, including the sunny, Brazilian-tinted “Bossa J.C.” Carter, who plays a trinity of saxophones (soprano, tenor and baritone), flute and bass clarinet is backed by a top drawer group, including the trumpeter Dwight Adams, pianist D.D. Jackson, bassist James Genus and drummer Victor Lewis, with guest appearances by guitarist Rodney Jones and percussionist Eli Fountain.
In late 2009, James Carter headlined for Heaven on Earth where he led an all-star group of modern jazz musicians through a live session
There were passages in the program, especially during pieces such as Joe Henderson’s “Recorda Me,” in which Carter played with a surprisingly soft and tender sound, his improvisations filled with subtle melodic paraphrases. At other times, he added an appealing, burry edge to his tone—the result calling up images, on soprano saxophone, of Sidney Bechet.
The music, commissioned by the DSO and written for Carter, shows off his brilliant technical command of the tenor and soprano saxes and carves out space for improvisation in which his ideas burst like fireworks.