Even though guitarist Joe Carter's work may not be very familiar to many jazz fans, this veteran player and jazz educator has a lot to offer. Most of his recordings under his own name have been done for his own Empathy label and the music on this Stash CD compilation was culled from several Empathy LPs. A very lyrical performer comparable to Jim Hall and Ed Bickert, Carter's first seven tracks are duets with the masterful bassist Rufus Reid. Together they open with an intricate arrangement of Sonny Rollins' "Valse Hot," while the bassist is the lead instrument in a low key but swinging take of the standard "Embraceable You." Carter captures the essence of Hall with his tribute to the veteran guitarist "Like Jim," with economical, logical lines that are a trademark of Hall's approach. Harvie Swartz (who now goes by Harvie S. due to the frequent misspelling of his surname) spells Reid on four tracks, with equally strong results. "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes" has rarely sounded so enticing. Alto saxophonist Lee Konitz is added for "She's as Wild as Springtime." This rewarding CD lapsed from print with the demise of Stash, but it shouldn't be terribly difficult to track down.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden