Paul Carr Biography
#26 at Jazzweek
#3 Earshot Jazz Chart (Canada)
#25 CMJ Jazz Chart, Issue #997
#20 at Roots Music Report
Joyce, The Washington Post (Live Review)
Carr was in wonderfully persuasive form, projecting a full-throated tone on tenor, but there was no shortage of crisply executed solos and fluid interplay.
David Franklin, Jazz Times
Carr has the husky tone identified with the Houston of his youth and ample technique to express his brimming ideas. The band's music is updated hard bop, and all the players know the language well.
Joe Kocherhans, KSDS
Great Playing, Excellent song selections. Totally in the pocket, each ensemble really shines.
Dupont, Cadence Magazine
Carr's the kind of musician who enriches local scenes around the country, and as such provides little recognized foundation for the music. After all Jazz is more than what goes on in the upscale dives and hoity-toity non-profits in New York City. And often the music has more heart and distinctiveness than what often emanates from those well-publicized quarters. Now I've never heard Carr live, but based on his recorded work, I would expect he'd blow my head off. Just Noodlin' supports that contention. He tears into "Blue and Brown," pouncing like a hungry cat. He knows how to jab. Punching out short phrases, twisting them, flipping them before moving on, all setting up a roundhouse climax. "Pat 'N' Chat," a Hank Mobley tune, demonstrates his ability to dodge and dart through changes, his step always sure. "You've Changed" shows of his husky-toned balladry.
This CD is well rounded in the music that it presents. It is "straight-up" jazz that many artists today are not playing. WESM was playing this CD frequently before we began reporting it to Jazz Week. This only occurs when we really like a CD. Paul did his homework on this one!
Derrick Lucas, WGMC
Its a cd served up in the taste, sprit and feeling of the classic 1960s Hard Bop/Blue Note recordings with heaping portions of integrity, feeling and soul.
Fujino, The Live Music Report
Carr has assembled two different sets of rhythm sections for this recording pianists Andrew Adair and Bob Butts; bassists Gavin Fallow and Mike Bowie; and Steve Williams and Harold Sumney, drums. They all hit the mark, and they communicate well with the tenor-trumpet front line of Paul Carr and Terell Stafford. "Just Noodlin'" (Paul Carr) expresses Carr's overall fondness for the hard bop/modal style of classic Prestige recordings. Carr's tenor speaks in the urgent spirit of Coltrane. Trumpeter Terell Stafford's spinning upper register work is truly edgy and stirring, while pianist Andrew Adair establishes a trance-like state with tolling chords. The bass playing of Gavin Fallow is so clear-headed (he's also recorded a bit too high in the mix); and drummer Steve Williams is a tasteful team player. There's a variety of moods and colors in this recording: The straightforward Gospel tones of "If I Can Help Somebody". The Coltrane-styled vision-questing tunes like "But Not for Me", "Blue and Brown", and "Just Noodlin'". A sweet Brazilian-flavored interpretation of "Alfie" (it's very different from the Sonny Rollins version). And there's "Dixie Pig", with its refreshing touches of free bop dialogue between Carr's soprano sax and Stafford's trumpet. Paul Carr is a modern mainstream player and composer with an eclectic approach to programming a CD, but he clearly loves groove-based and bluesy tunes, and is happiest, it seems, when swinging in 4/4. Paul Carr plays the tradition with confidence. And this is good to hear.
The playing is excellent. Carr and Stafford build their solos to hard, blasting notes without ever losing control. Whether noodlin' with fast runs or melodically, both men expertly handle their horns. Carr's two compositions stand up well, along with the two written by Reuben Brown, a fellow Washington, D.C.-based artist. is a
Greenberg, All Music Guide
Here we have a longtime club player and teacher, with his second album in some fifteen years. The song choices are a fair mix of works from local composers and arrangers and a couple of classics. On the title track (something of a jam session-turned-composition), the band picks up in a relatively heavy groove and continues into a bluesy number with similar intensity but less tempo. Krush Groove has no real relation to the movie, but involves a short showcase of musical styles melded to a basic swing aesthetic The album opens up when Carr takes on a Dexter Gordon classic in You've Changed (a rare ballad on the album, but it suits Carr surprisingly well, given his usual energy), and kicks up some additional intensity with an old Hank Mobley number suited perfectly for Carr's Texas-style playing (as well as some heavy trumpet soloing from guest Terell Stafford). ATrane-inspired version of But Not for Me gives Carr an excellent chance to show off technique along with the Texas blow. The album shows off a fine set of abilities and a nice showcase for some lesser-known composers as well. Give it a listen or two.
Murray Reams, Jazzreview
The first release from Paul Carr as a leader in 13 years titled Just Noodlin is actually anything but. Carr is a hard-hitting, straight-ahead Texas tenor that has spent many years as a sideman on the DC scene and touring on four continents when not performing at the White House or the JFK Center for the Performing Arts. On this outing, Carr offers a mix of standards and his own compositions played with an intriguingly fresh and expansive post-bop sound. Featuring renowned trumpeter Terell Stafford and former Donald Harrison sideman, Andrew Adair on piano, this group absolutely gives no quarter as they progress from the initial Carr composition that serves as the title track through Reuben Brown and Hank Mobley tunes to a hard-grooving Latin version of Burt Bacharachs Alfie and beyond. As might be expected from one with his background, Carr moves with ease between tenor and soprano over driving rhythm sections provided by Michael Bowie or Gavin Fallow on bass and Harold Summey or Steve Williams on drums. Perhaps Carrs facility on his chosen instrument is most noticeable on the Gershwin standard But Not for Me, a Coltrane favorite that might scare away a lesser player. Carr approaches the tune fearlessly and blows several spiraling choruses that, while somewhat reminiscent of Trane, (is this meant as a tribute? could it be otherwise?), are also clearly expressive of a confidently individual and recognizable style. The CD winds down to a freely blown rendition of If I Can Help Somebody that calls to mind the big sound of some of Albert Aylers gospel renderings while maintaining a down-home feel and providing a touching close to this fine effort. Also present here are Bob Butta and Vince Evans who contribute solid piano backing on tracks absent Adairs stylings. Im sorry to say that I havent run across Carrs explosive sound before, but I certainly intend to in the future. Fans of other serious hard hitters (think Terence Blanchard) will find themselves at home here although chances are, if you dont like this CD, you are probably not a jazz fan. I cant recommend it highly enough.
Von Stiers, BVS Reviews
The title track, Just Noodlin', is up first. It is a good song with a toe tapping tempo. It showcases Paul's saxophone playing well. Blue and Brown is the second song. It begins with some strong bass. Then Paul kicks in with the sax for a moderately paced tune. One particularly good song on the album is Krush Groove. It has a really decent trumpet solo and one for piano that allows the sidemen on the album to shine. You've Changed is a slow, smoky ballad. This one primarily focuses on Paul's sax playing. Things pick back up with Pat N' Chat. This is a fast paced song, with good trumpet and subtle bass and drums in the background. One song on the album was kind of unexpected. It is a cover of Alfie. Paul's version was arranged by Vince Evans. The song was very nicely done. It is one of the best covers of the song I've heard in quite a while. Dixie Pig gives solos to the trumpet and sax for some interesting combinations. But Not For Me has a nice piano solo. The album ends with If I Can Help Somebody. This slow and easy song is a nice way to close things out. I wasn't familiar with Paul Carr before hearing Just Noodlin'. But he has been added to my list of great jazz saxophonists. His playing is superb and the musicians he gathered for this album are top notch.
Sheldon T. Nunn,
Overall, Just Noodlin is the end result of following a slowly evolving path towards excellence. Paul Carrs work has already been recognized on the Washington, DC/Maryland jazz scene many times over since he received a degree in music from Howard University. He is frequently seen at various nightspots and has collected a cadre of fans throughout the area. Although Pauls background in jazz is derived from the Texas Tenors, when listening to his sound there are other inferences as well. Paul also pulls from the likable qualities of John Coltrane, Michael Brecker, Dexter Gordon and Hank Mobley to make a musical statement. In either case and no matter how the notes are cut, Paul Carr and Just Noodlin are two of hard bop jazzs finest and most refreshing ambassadors around today.
Oscar Groomes, O's Place Jazz Newsletter
Producer Ron Kearns found Paul in a local DC club fifteen years ago. He was playing with George Colligan (p) and Terell Stafford (t) in a quintet. They made Paul's debut recording with lots of success. Today we find Carr and Stafford more mature with their sound mellowing like the finest of wines. They play the music of DC's finest composers including a couple of Carr's own and a couple of standards. Both Paul and Terell are on their 'A' games. Whether soloing or harmonizing, they sound as if they'd been playing together continuously. The magic is here across all nine tracks.
Eric W. Saeger, Skope Magazine
Paul Carrs sax is a weapon of chill destruction, not too souped-up (theres no sign that hes battling for shelf space with fusion proggers) and not too old school either. His new album administers straight-up commuter feel-goodness similar to Sonny Rollins or a more freestyle Ronny Laws. The set boots up with the albums eponymous track, a snappy metered original spotlighting his breezy but intense perspective not only on the notes themselves but also on the innards of his instrument. Its not until track #4 (Carrie Fischers Youve Changed) that theres a turn for the nostalgic, but thankfully the feel is far less forlorn than smilingly introspective. Passages are traded here and there with trumpet player Terrell Stanford, and these are without a doubt the highlights of the record; a 6 1/2 minute version of the Gershwins But Not For Me starts as a thoughtful gift to the foxtrotters until Carr can no longer control an urge to get medieval on the scale, pianist Bob Butta returning a volley in kind.
Michael P. Gladstone,
All About Jazz
This sextet carr assembled for this session includes the highly regarded trumpeter Terell Stafford. Just Noodlin' begins with the title tune, a joyous hard bop recollection of the golden years of Blue Note Records, with Carr playing a robust, soulful tenor sax. The pace slows on Reuben Brown's Blue and Brown, a blues piece which features a bass solo by Gavin Fallow. The Carrie Fischer standard You've Changed was inspired by Dexter Gordon's early-1960s reading on Blue Note, and Hank Mobley's Pig 'N' Chat, first heard on The Turnaround, is given a rare reading from Carr.
Steve Monroe, DC North
As an accomplished sideman and dedicated educator, Paul Carr has already made a lasting mark on the jazz scene. But now hes hungry for more. Carr has become well known over the years for his smooth delivery and golden tone on the tenor sax, and hes played with leading lights of the music like Wynton Marsalis, Gary Bartz, Shirley Scott, Eddie Henderson, Carl Grubbs, Ronnie Wells and many others. Hes played for presidential inaugurals and King Hussein of Jordan. In addition, hes tutored and mentored countless protégés as an instructor. At last months Fish Middleton Jazz Society East Coast Jazz Festival in Rockville, one of his protégés, alto saxophonist Will Reardon-Anderson, shared the frontline with Carr at his quintets gig on the festivals main stage. Carr, Reardon-Anderson and Kent Jordan on flute all shined on the Carr original, Krush Groove, a rollicking, funk-edged piece that showcases Carrs compositional skills and his musicianship. The tune was an example of how Carr, when motivated, can step out as a leader, with some edge.
Cordle, The News Observer
Most jazz musicians would be proud to "noodle" like tenor and soprano saxophonist Paul Carr. "Just Noodlin' " (Paul Carr Music and Publishing), the title of his new album, is an understatement. The Houston native, who has lived in the Washington, D.C., area since graduating from Howard University several years ago, has a bold Texas tenor style. His phrases are emphatic and full of heat and soul. You get the feeling that he could lay waste to the competition, even highly ranked saxophonists, in a cutting session. Paired with trumpeter Terrell Stafford in the front line and three different rhythm sections, Carr proves adept at balladry, gospel-drenched material and John Coltrane-associated harmony as well as straight-ahead hard bop. On "You've Changed," the album's lone ballad performance, he gives the well-known standard a richly masculine reading reminiscent of Dexter Gordon. On "If I Can Help Somebody," his churchy, Southern roots are on display. On the Gershwins' standard "But Not for Me," he runs Coltrane's complex chord substitutions expertly and soulfully -- without sounding textbookish. Not an easy task. The title cut finds Carr at home in a burning straight-ahead groove where rawer tonal qualities emerge in the fire of the performance. Here and on Reuben Brown's "Blue and Brown," he might remind you of fellow Houston tenorman Billy Harper. Stafford and the piano-bass-drums rhythm sections rise to Carr's ideals. The trumpeter is one of the hottest post-Wynton Marsalis brassmen, with an ear for '60s-era trumpeters such as Freddie Hubbard and Donald Byrd. The rhythm section players include pianists Andrew Adair, Bob Butta and Vince Evans, bassists Michael Bowie and Gavin Fallow and drummers Harold Summey and Steve Williams. Percussionist Sam Turner is added on one track.
Washington DC has a wealth of talented artists dedicated to keeping jazz alive, well and prospering. Paul Carr is one of those talented artists and his latest CD Just Noodlin' is a sample of why he is one of the areas finest performers. After spending several weeks spinning this disc, Just Noodlin' brings to mind the music of the golden Blue Note era. Part of that is because all of the tunes on this CD were recorded without overdubbing. This gives a feeling of living/playing/creating in the moment and I applaud Paul for taking that approach. The tunes include two songs composed by Paul himself in addition to two tunes written by Rueben Brown (another DC area player). Rueben wrote my favorite cut on the album - "Blue and Brown." Other stand outs include the title track "Just Noodlin'", "Krush Groove" (both composed by Paul) and "Pat & Chat." Paul's skills as a balladeer are showcased on "You've Changed." Joining Paul on this CD is the one and only Terell Stafford. Terrell continues to crank out quality work as leader and sideman - this recording is no exception. He is definitely one of the ones to watch in arena of jazz trumpet. His tone is to die for and his abilities on the horn are simply amazing. I always learn something when I listen to him and that usually sends me straight to the practice room (always a good thing). The core rhythm section consists of Andrew Adair (piano), Gavin Fallow (bass) and Steve Williams (drums). Also joining Paul on are Bob Butta (piano), Vince Evans (piano), Sam Turner (percussion), Harold Summey (drums) and Michael Bowie (bass). Paul's playing on the CD is fantastic
Bowers, All About Jazz
Saxophonist Paul Carr is far too modest. If hes Just Noodlin, Id love to hear what he could do if he ever buckled down and started playing in earnest. Carr and his front-liner partner, trumpeter Terell Stafford, remind me of the Brecker brothers, saxophonist Michael and trumpeter Randypurposeful post-boppers with tons of technique and plenty of interesting things to say. this is more than a trip down memory lane, as Carr, Stafford and their colleagues keep pressing persistently forward, appending fresh new wrinkles to what has gone before and using a hip vernacular that is thoroughly contemporary in style and meaning. Alfie works especially well as a perky samba, Carr is smooth and eloquent on Youve Changed, and he and Stafford reach swinging peaks on Pat n Chat, But Not for Me and Dixie Pig. The various rhythm sections (three pianists, two bassists and two drummers take their turns, with percussionist Sam Turner added on Alfie) understand their supporting role and play it perfectly. If youve been hangin and scufflin, lookin for some bright and daring new jazz to put a smile on your face and a spring in your step, you could do a lot worse than Just Noodlin.
J Sin, Smother Magazine
Hey if this is "Just Noodlin'", I wonder what would happen if he got serious and concentrated! An excellent jazz album that is in line with free-form and improv, yet feels smooth and refined. Carr is a straight-on great saxophonist and composer showing off his talents for all to hear on his latest album. It's a good one and sure to make jazz heads turn around and pay a whole lot of attention. Nice.
John Gilbert, Ejazz
5 out of 5 Stars
Paul Carr's steamy tenor sax solo does fine justice to "You've Changed" ..Softly comping is Andrew Adair at the piano, which lends much to Carr's solo. Hank Mobley's bebop classic "Pat 'N' Chat" is served up by Terrell Stafford's ultra hip trumpet solo. Carr's tenor follows suit with masterful changes in his turn to burn....Preachin' the blues is the hallmark of "If I Can Help Somebody" This is heavenly music with a strong message that sways and softly struts like a New Orleans parade. Emotion runs supreme in a cloak of blue.
Nicholas Sheffo, Fulvue Drive In
The saxophonist Paul Carr has released a nine-track Jazz set called Just Noodlin. Sonics are nice and clean, adding to the technical proficiency of the resulting album.
Alexander Rogers, Platter Picks
7 out of 10 stars
Its 10 PM. Do you know where your children are? I bet you dont. For all you know they could be out noodlin! I bet thats what theyre up to. Lousy, rotten kids! Theyre always out having fun when they should be out shoveling coal or something. I blame carefree jazz instrumentals like those provided by Mr. Paul Carr for this descent into frivolity. He plays like he has no intention of holding to any specific formula or beat. He just goes off and doesnt stop till everybodys all jazzed out! Imagine! Who does this guy think he is, playing the impresario like he knows what hes doing? And just when you think hes settled onto smooth, art house jazz he goes and starts speeding away in short spurts like one of those urban beat-street kids. Somebody should tell that guy to act his age. I dont know how old he is, but he needs to at least set an example and stop enjoying his sound so much. Hasnt somebody told him that sound is contagious? Before you know it, everybody will like his sound too and then who will be around to shovel coal? Coal wont shovel itself you know. Except maybe magic dancing coal, but thats just a legend from the early days of jazz.
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