Marionettes On A High Wire
Baikida Carroll (OmniTone)
By Glenn Astarita allaboutjazz.com
Perhaps not as well-known as others who share similar faculties,
trumpeter Baikida Carroll has earned respect and accolades
for years, while performing with the late, great saxophonist
/ composer Julius Hemphill, pianist Jay McShann, bassist Charlie
Haden and many others of note. However, Carroll's expertise
also lies within his multifarious approach to composition
amid countless scores for Broadway. With his first outing
as a leader in six years, the artist once again demonstrates
acute technical skills along with his stature as a gifted
composer who here, reaps the benefits of a power house ensemble.
On A High Wire boasts an amalgamation of variable swing vamps,
elegantly rendered shifts in meter and memorable melodies,
awash with blistering yet finely articulated soloing by the
leader, saxophonist Erica Lindsay and veteran jazz pianist
Adegoke Steve Colson. Furthermore, the all world rhythm section
of bassist Michael Formanek and drummer Pheeroan akLaff subsidize
the band's often oscillating movements and brisk pace.
"Griot's Last Dance" is all about booming rhythms, free jazz
undertones and diminutive themes in accordance with the musicians'
sparkling communal dialogue. "Our Say" is a soft ballad, punctuated
by Formanek's expressive lines and Colson's delicate frameworks,
while "A Thrill A Minute" provides the listener with hard-Bop-ish
unison choruses and a profoundly stated melody that is guaranteed
to seize your mind's eye! (A testament to Carroll's wondrous
The excitement continues with "Flamboye" as the band skirts
free-jazz territory in conjunction with crisp, tightly organized
choruses and circular passages as Carroll's latest release
equates to one beautifully fabricated production, that imparts
a lasting impression. Now, we can only hope that Baikida Carroll
gaps between recordings! Recommended!!