François Houle

In the Vernacular: The Music of John Carter

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One has the feeling that if Francois Houle played saxophone he might be a household name. Alas, it is his destiny to play the disfavored clarinet, but Houle performs with such consistent creativity that his improvisations have to be numbered among the supreme joys of modern jazz. Here, he leads an all-star quintet through the compositions of John Carter with splendid results. Carter was a clarinetist and writer of enormous depth, a true iconoclast; an original who followed his own path, merging sophisticated folk and jazz harmonies. Houle is joined by eclectic trumpeter Dave Douglas, new music cellist Peggy Lee, bassist Mark Dresser, and drummer Dylan van der Schyff in reinterpreting Carter's works. With that kind of talent, and with the extraordinary arranging skills of the leader, it should not be surprising that this one is as good as it is.

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