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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Daniel Carter, William Parker & Federico Ughi - Navajo Sunrise (Rudi, 2013) ****

By Stef 

The album starts with applause of the audience, after which Daniel Carter's alto starts singing a beautiful tune, upbeat and joyful, with William Parker on bass and Federico Ughi on drums following suit, sculpting a slightly dancing and boppish improvisation out of Carter's initial tones. The times are good, the mood is fine, the playing beautiful. 

The title track starts after the applause for a soloist who took a step back and the trio jumps in again, a strange cut, but that doesn't spoil the fun, because over Ughi's energetic drumming and Parker's solid foundation, Carter sings away on his alto, keeping a wonderful spiritual tone and sense of optimism, one of wonder and joy, and even when halfway the track the tempo slows down, the ensuing intimacy between the three musicians remains warm and positive.

Then "Gather Up" opens with bass and piano, yes, with Carter on piano, and with William Parker on shakuhachi, again full of spiritual joy, with Ughi adding subtle accents, and Carter switching to alto. The audience is enthusiastic and rightly so.

The longest piece, "It Could Go", the closing track, is also the fiercest, with incredible energy and power, in the best of free jazz traditions, and with great subtlety. The interaction between Ughi, Parker and Carter is really strong, keeping its upbeat tone, and the sax keeps singing, full of lyricism and you can tell that all three musicians are really enjoying this too.

In a time of harsh sounds and musical expressions of distress and anger, this album offers a refreshing antidote, free and intense and lyrical. The power of optimism! The joy of three great musicians having fun!