Adventures in Music
This article appeared in the June 2001 issue of “Jazziz” a national jazz magazine.
A veteran Southern California club performer and studio cat, guitarist MARK CARTER introduces himself to the smooth-jazz world with liner notes that reveal 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) list a slew of legendary jazz and fusion guitar players, but it’s more fun figuring them out by listening to this engaging, eclectic debut.
On the funk opener is “Green is Beautiful,” Carter leaves the main melody several times to improvise energetic riffs from the Grant Green school. Keyboardist Tim Redfield picks up on the positive spirit with swirling piano improvisations. Carter lays back a bit for a simmering “Groovin’ Out Wes,” in which he blends the cool Montgomery style with modern percussion, synthesized horns, organ, and occasional guitar licks from 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 exposes his love for gentle world-beat sounds. On the atmospheric “Move a Little Closer,” his acoustic guitar approximates the high, plucky tones of a Japanese koto, while “Lost in Cabo” infuses a reggae groove with classical-guitar flavor. 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, stylistically varied autobiography.