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JGT Review: Mark Carter’s Brand New Day



JGT Contributor Vince Lewis reviews California based guitarist Mark Carter’s new album, Brand New Day.

I first became aware of California based guitarist Mark Carter several years ago when I was writing critical reviews for another National Jazz Guitar Publication.  His career has blossomed into one of the most visible and successful in the contemporary jazz genre, and his credentials are excellent and well-deserved.

Carter has performed or recorded with artists such Al Jarreau, Glen Campbell, Dave Koz, Roger Williams, Tom Scott and Eric Marienthal among others.  The Mark Carter Project is his current four piece band comprised of Guitar, Keybooard, Bass and Drums.  Carter’s music is regularly played around the world on Contemporary and Smooth Jazz Radio.  His music is available on Spotify, Apple Music, and iTunes.

In this brand new release, he is surrounded by an excellent cast of players in various combinations.  The compositions were written before, during and after the pandemic of 2020.

The opening track “First Love” is a very pretty melody and laid back pop feel. He is joined here by Colin Mitchell (Bass), Tateng Katindig (Keyboard), and Greg Vail (Sax).  “Mi Senorita de San Juan” is up next with a solid groove and Spanish flair that the title implies.  “Carmel is Calling” gives the listener a feel of the California beauty and laid-back lifestyle most folks associate with that part of the country.

“Block Party” is a high-energy Funk tune that has excellent drive from beginning to end. “Naptown” has the melody stated in the octave style playing reminiscent of Wes Montgomery

in an obvious tribute to him and his hometown of Indianapolis.  Other titles include “Moonlight In Her Eyes,” “Time to Fly,” “City Life” and “Sunrise.”  “Larry and Paul” is a nod to Larry Carlton and Paul Brown who transformed Carter’s original tune “Groovin’ Out Wes” into “Miles and Miles to Go” which they included on one of their most popular recordings.

Mark Carter has a traditional and full Jazz tone that truly fits his compositions and musical ideas perfectly.  His melodies are catchy and well crafted and his solos perfectly flowing within the framework of his harmonies.  This CD is highly recommended for any contemporary Jazz Guitar fan.  

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