Straight No Chaser

Joshua Redman and James Carter


A memorable tenor battle

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In reality, it should not have been a close contest.

As brilliant a player as Joshua Redman is, his fellow tenor James Carter is so expressive in his playing, throwing in everything from percussive slap-tonguing to honks, screams, multiphonics and high notes in the stratosphere, along with displays of his full knowledge of jazz history, that one would never expect him to take second place in a tenor battle.

At a Carnegie Hall concert with a big band, Redman was ready.

On “Straight No Chaser,” the two tenors took short solos and then traded fours for an extended period.

While Carter was as explosive and humorous as always, Redman kept up with him, often emulating his phrases and ideas; their unaccompanied section near the piece’s conclusion is both remarkable and pretty witty; the result is that the tenor battle was a tie.

-Scott Yanow

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