Despite this CD's title and a slight emphasis on ballads, The Real Quiet Storm is not an easy listening record. James Carter, one of the great new discoveries of the 1990s (and whose versatility, brilliance on a variety of reed instruments, and seeming encyclopedic knowledge of jazz styles makes him a possible successor to Rahsaan Roland Kirk) is heard playing tenor, alto, soprano, baritone, bass clarinet and bass flute on the nine selections, with the impressive pianist Craig Taborn, either Dave Holland or Jaribu Shahid on bass, and Leon Parker or Tani Tabbal on drums. Although some of the ballad statements (such as his statements on baritone on "'Round Midnight" and "Eventide") are fairly straightforward, Carter also has some explosive moments. His rendition (on soprano) of Don Byas "1944 Stomp" is memorable, as is his interpretations of "Born to Be Blue" and two originals. The results are a bit restrained compared to his live performances, but this is an enjoyable and unpredictable outing, music that will not be played on the Quiet Storm.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow