Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

James Carter Organ Trio: Out of Nowhere [Half Note, 2005]
Though 2004's Live at Baker's Keyboard Lounge is as warm a blowing session as he's laid down, this all too self-sufficient virtuoso gravitates to concept albums, in part because he's no writer. This can be tricky--his Billie Holiday tribute is dreadful, and his Pavement covers reflect poorly on the alt-rock groove. But the organ-trio format so derided in jazzbo land suits his vulgar gusto perfectly--it's made for showoffs and delights in the impolite sounds he can extract from any number of saxophones at will. My favorite pits his avant-honking tenor against guest Hamiet Bluiett's avant-honking baritone on guest James Blood Ulmer's "Highjack." Ulmer also gets to sing "Little Red Rooster." The vocal-less finale is "I Believe I Can Fly." The organist is Gerard Gibbs. A-