“ Kendall Carter, a young gifted organist that is very mature in the way he plays. Lots of chops and skill, yet, he executes the right phrases and motifs that fit, simultaneously creating his own brand of soulful, interesting, and exciting music. ”
Bobby Floyd (Jazz Organist)
Carter is a young organist capable of saying something significant in a phrase or two, reluctant to overload his message. He readily finds a groove that doesn't require the smeary flamboyance of some jazz organists. When he turns decorative, he makes it all count for something.
"Kendall = Groove. You can't help but smile when you hear him play."
Walter Smith III (Jazz Saxophonist)
“...one of the best and most promising of the young organists.”
Dave Stryker (Jazz Guitarist)
Listening to Kentucky-bred organist Kendall Carter's debut album, aptly titled Introducing Kendall Carter, is akin to taking a pleasant stroll through a park on a warm and sunny day. While Carter is technically flawless, he doesn't overwhelm the listener with waves of sound but plays organ from a pianist's point of view, sacrificing sheer volume on the altar of celerity and tastefulness. That stands to reason, as Carter studied piano at the University of Louisville and is equally at home on either instrument.
The choice of organ for his coming-out party may have been dictated at least in part by the fact that jazz pianists abound in almost every crevasse and corner while the pool of topnotch jazz organists is relatively shallow. Whatever the rationale, Carter makes his mark with a winning combination of poise and musicality. The astuteness extends as well to his choice of sidemen: guitarist Dave Stryker, a seasoned pro with blues in his soul, and drummer Kenny Phelpswhose rhythmic sense and exemplary timing serve to keep everyone in lock step and grooving.
The interesting catalog of songs—all arranged by Carter—covers themes by Bill Withers, Kenny Dorham, Carla Bley, Lee Morgan, Sam Rivers and Carter's light-hearted "Punjabi Affair," along with "Afro Blue" and the session's two standards, "That's All" and "The Masquerade Is Over." Stryker wrote the shuffling finale, "Blues for Kendall." The blues is never far from sight on the irrepressible opener, "Blame It on the Boogie," as is true on "Afro Blue," Withers' "Lovely Day," Morgan's "Speedball" and "The Masquerade Is Over." "That's All" and Bley's "Lawns" are the album's lone ballads. Whatever the mood, Carter and Stryker solo with assurance while Phelps rests firmly in the groove.
A smart and handsome debut for Kendall Carter who in years to come may need no further introduction to those who are well-versed in jazz.
Exquisite jazz organ magic Kendall Carter – INTRODUCING KENDALL CARTER: This debut release from Hammond B3 master Kendall is THE most exquisite jazz organ work I’ve heard (yet) in 2021… you all know that I believe the most important way to become familiar with a new artist is to watch them in action, so without further ado, here’s the official trailer video for “Lovely Day” from the album…
If you enjoyed Kendall’s high-energy playing on that video, you’ll want to be sure to SUBSCRIBE to his Kendall Keyz YouTube channel right away (like I did).
When a new artist is able to bring truly top-end talent to his first release like Dave Stryker on guitar and Kenny Phelps playing drums, you know he’s “got it” in a big way… as you listen to the down & funky “Speedball” (by Ray Stevens), you’ll realize instantly that you’re going to be hearing a LOT from this high-energy player in the coming years!
The group’s treatment of Carla Bley’s “Lawns” is more than mellow, it’s jam-packed with sweet and soulful imagery that will have you listening to it over and over again… I have no doubt that jazz DJ’s will be plugging this into their playlists often.
I had absolutely no doubt after my first cruise through the eleven exciting tunes offered up that it would be the closer, Dave Stryker’s original, “Blues for Kendall“, that got my vote for personal favorite… I can tell you right now, you’ve never heard a more “down-home” B3 than what Kendall plays on this song!
I give Kendall and his fellow players a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) score of 4.99 for this stunning debut album.
MAKING A SCENE
...newcomer B3 master Kendall Carter mostly embraces the tradition on this soulful, bluesy debut.
...he's already set with this debut to put his name next to the masters of the art and the ax.