Clarinet Summit

In Concert at the Public Theater

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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow

In 1984 John Carter organized an unusual concert featuring a quartet comprised of himself, Alvin Batiste, former Duke Ellington member Jimmy Hamilton on clarinets, and David Murray on bass clarinet. Hamilton's participation makes the performance even more noteworthy than it would have been because he was living in the Virgin Islands and had been semi-retired for much of the past 15 years. While Carter was an avant-gardist and Hamilton essentially a swing/bopper, Batiste proved capable of playing in either style while Murray took care of the basslines. Two LPs were originally released by the India Navigation label. This single CD reissue has all of the selections except "Satin Doll" and the opening section of "Clariflavors" and it is arranged a bit differently, with the swing-oriented tunes coming first and the freer passionate group improvisations being in the latter part of the program. The interplay between the very different clarinetists work quite well, with highlights including "Jeep's Blues," a delightful version of "Honeysuckle Rose," the lengthy "Solo and Ballad for Four Clarinets," and the closing "Clariflavors." Highly recommended.

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