Chasin' The Gypsy, James Carter

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Tribute albums are often content with summoning up old ghosts. Saxophonist James Carter, 31, takes a more rewarding approach on his excellent new CD: he offers up fresh takes on the music of French Gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt, but he does so by substituting his own instrument in the lead role. Carter, whether he's playing tenor or soprano sax, shows off a sweet, sinuous tone; when he reinterprets Reinhardt's classic Nuages with a bass sax, the muscular sound is distancing at first, but then it wraps itself around the listener like an anaconda. This CD does more than invoke Reinhardt's spirit; it has a life of its own.