i recently bought this cd after reading several positive reviews of Carter's work in uk mag Wire + having viewed some impressive clips on youtube. and so to "Layin' in the Cut" from 2000.
i will probably expand this review as i listen further, but in essence this release highlights for me a common problem in post heyday jazz namely - post Coltrane, Miles, Art Ensemble, et al. namely that of technique over a genuine trailblazing new or even generally innovative jazz . James Carter has several outrageous solos here , with some fine moments from guitarist - Marc Ribot also, BUT much of the music here simply sounds like formulaic retreads of 90's mainstream jazz - bit of cross over funk, polished angular lines, some smoother radio friendly tracks and a general lack of believable unity of purpose with several tracks sounding lacklustre + formulaic. hardly offering anything new or vital. Miles' similar fusion-funk lp Tutu springs to mind - except that that is arguably a more diverse + emotionally deeper.
there's simply nothing here that makes me go "wow" in the manner of Albert Ayler, Coltrane, Ornette, Brotzmann etc and in this day and age with jazz becoming a pretty ageing artform - thats not really good enough. other releases by Greg Osby, Joshua Redman amongst others also reinforce this impression. other horn men - David S Ware + David Murray remain for me the best contemporary practioners i've heard thus far. there's far too much slick funk here + not enough edge or out playing to these ears.
i will as always i'll dig deeper into Carter's canon though..