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James Carter Press

The Quest For THE Perfect Mouthpiece – James Carter Article Featured in Downbeat

There’s an inner musical tree that grows in each and every one of us.” —Dexter Gordon, as the character Dale Turner in the 1986 film Round Midnight (Warner Bros.).

This quote is so eternally true for those of us who search for musical gratification beyond imitation of our idols. But in our search, it is often our equipment that hinders our “tree” from flourishing and bearing the personal results that encourage us on to artistic heights yet attained. Your horn(s) of choice are an important factor in this task, but even more crucial in this endeavor is the “golden spike” that fuses human and instrument together in the perpetual dance of artistic expression: the quest for THE perfect mouthpiece.

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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.
- Mark Stryker, DETROIT FREE PRESS

Whether he’s playing tenor or soprano sax, shows off a sweet, sinuous tone; when he reinterprets Reinhardt’s classic Nuages with a bass sax, the muscular sound is distancing at first, but then it wraps itself around the listener like an anaconda.
-Christopher John Farley, TIME