Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

James Carter: Chasin' the Gypsy [Atlantic, 2000]
Sonically and conceptually, audacity is Carter's m.o. He always makes sure you know he's in the room. So on this bow to Django--an attention-getting device in itself, of course--he grabs hold of Reinhardt's famed "Nuages" with a totally inappropriate bass saxophone and never lets go. Does the European proud, too--even on soprano Carter is a gutty presence, overlaying just enough raunch for anyone who's always found the tributee a touch quiet. With two well-schooled moderns taking what are no longer lead lines on guitar and Regina Carter a more muscular Stéphane Grappelli, this is the spirit marriage a tribute should be. It swings like a horse thief, parlays Fransay, and adores the melody. A