Steve Holtje (Senior writer) 2001

"Baikida Carroll: Flying by Wire"

Baikida Carroll Marionettes On A High Wire

            Trumpeter Baikida Carroll has gone remarkably under-recorded as a leader, considering both the level of his talent (as both player and composer) and the respect in which he is held by a wide variety of musicians. ( Carroll has worked with everyone from Julius Hemphill and Oliver Lake to Nana Vasconcelos, Albert King, and Dr. John.) Fortunately, the enterprising Brooklyn, NY jazz label OmniTone has stepped into the breach with this, Carroll's first album since 1994's Door of the Cage.

            Aside from bassist Michael Formanek, the lineup here is the same as Carroll's previous release, with tenor saxophonist Erica Lindsay, pianist Adegoke Steve Colson and drummer Pheeroan akLaff„ All of whom, on the evidence of this disc, are as versatile as the leader. At times, the veteran Colson nearly steals the show Ć not with flash, but with depth and imagination.

            "Carroll is equally comfortable "inside" as "outside." The title track is an eight-minute excursion into avant-garde realms, while the track that succeeds it, "Miss Julie", is a tender ballad, with mute ,on which his tone recalls that of Miles Davis. At other points, the styles of Don Cherry (to whom " Griot's Last Dance" is dedicated) and Woody Shaw are touched on, but Carroll is no stylistic chameleon, and always maintains a strong identity of his own. The same is true of his composing on this all-originals set, which even ranges as far afield as the short "Cab" Ć a joyous two-beat visit to the days of early jazz, complete with Colson's witty, spare take on stride piano.

            Finely crafted and brimming over with verve and unselfconscious originality, this new release is a delight from start to finish, and a welcome spotlighting of a too-often overlooked talent."

-Steve Holtje, CD Now full review home page Back