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It's About Time

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Album Review

A veteran Southern California club performer and studio cat, Mark Carter introduces himself to the smooth jazz world with liner notes that cover a vast array of influences — beginning with his earliest memory of hearing the theme to Goldfinger! The notes to It's About Time (Mark Carter Productions) go on to list a slew of legendary jazz and fusion guitar players, but it's more exciting figuring them out just by listening to this engaging, eclectic debut. On the bouncy funk opener "Green Is Beautiful," Carter breaks from the main melody several times to improvise energetic riffs from the Grant Green school; keyboardist Tim Redfield picks up on this positive spirit with swirling piano improvisations. Carter lays back a bit for a simmering "Groovin' Out Wes," in which he blends the warm, cool Montgomery style with modern machine percussion, synth horns, and organ and the occasional wah-wah guitar clicks of Richard Smith. He grounds himself in pop and soul for colorful readings of "I Just Wanna Stop" and "Could It Be I'm Falling in Love," then lets us in on his love for gentle world beat sounds; on the atmospheric, mystical "Move a Little Closer," his acoustic guitar approximates the high, plucky tones of a Japanese koto, while the tropical minded "Lost in Cabo" fuses a reggae groove and classical guitar flavor. The blues-influenced hip-hop shuffle "Cats on the Beach" will no doubt appeal to genre fans who like the aggressive Eric Clapton-like energy of Jeff Golub. Conventional wisdom sometimes tells new solo artists to focus on one specific sound rather than trot around like this, but Carter clearly wants it both ways — staking his claim in the smooth jazz world while also treating us to a jubilant autobiography.

It's About Time, Mark Carter
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  • €9.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: 31 October 2000

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