Recorded in 2004 at the Blue Note in New York, Out of Nowhere finds James Carter paired up with fellow Detroiters Gerard Gibbs on organ and Leonard King on drums for the unofficial sequel to Live at Baker's Keyboard Lounge. While the trio revitalizes the standard "Out of Nowhere" and breezes through Benny Golson's jazz classic "Along Came Betty," the fireworks really get under way on "Highjack." The tune signals the fervent arrival of its composer, guitarist James Blood Ulmer, and by the conclusion the quartet is joined by fiery multi-saxophonist Hamiett Bluiett. Carter and Bluiett then take center stage for a baritone sax duet on "Song for Camile," Bluiett's beautiful ballad initially recorded with the World Saxophone Quartet, of which he is a member, on their organ-drenched 1995 date Breath of Life. Ulmer directs the proceedings through Chicago blues territory with a quick and loose "Little Red Rooster," which leads into R. Kelly's 1996 pop hit "I Believe I Can Fly." Now, before indifference gets the best of you, in the hands of these musicians the tune receives a quick conversion from ballad into a quasi-Latin groove, through burning funk -- in which Gibbs absolutely shines -- and finally the reeds irreverently take it out honking and squawking in a manner that would have made Lester Bowie smile. Like its predecessor, Live at Baker's Keyboard Lounge, Out of Nowhere provides an admirable cornucopia of modern jazz from Carter and friends.
AllMusic Review by Al Campbell