John Carter – clarinet, soprano saxophone – Stanley Carter – bass | William Jeffrey – drums, percussion | Chris Carter – finger cymbals (CD 1, track 2) | Melba Joyce – vocals (CD 1, track 2)
CD 1: Tracks 1, 2, 4, & 5, recorded on 6th September, 1976; track 3 recorded on 14th July, 1977 at Spectrum Studios. All titles composed by John Carter. Originally released on LP by Ibedon Records (IAS 1000). CD 2: Recorded 19th March, 1977 at KPFK, Los Angeles, California. All titles composed by John Carter. Liner notes by Ed Hazell. Booklet design by Jeff DiPerna, tabula rasa graphic design. Cover photo and booklet photo by Mark Weber. Re-mastered by Arūnas Zujus at MAMAstudios. Produced by Danas Mikailionis & Ed Hazell. Co-producer – Valerij Anosov
Tracklist CD 1: 1. Echoes from Rudolph’s [10:06] 2. To a Fallen Poppy [6:13] 3. Angles [6:05] 4. Amin [9:51] 5. The Last Sunday [5:19]
Tracklist CD 2: 1. Echoes from Rudolph’s / [19:30] 2. To a Fallen Poppy Unidentified Title 1 / [8:15] 3. Unidentified Title 2 / [15:52] 4. Unidentified Title 3 / [22:00] 5. Unidentified Title 4 / [31: 57] “Amin”
Echoes from Rudolph’s
has topped my list of Albums Most in Need of Reissuing for the longest time. Not only is it one of clarinetist-composer John Carter’s greatest performances on record, it is also the only documentation of a critical period in the evolution of his art. It is the only album he made as a leader or co-leader between Secrets in 1972 and Variations in 1979. And it comes from the period in which he decided to discard his other horns and to focus exclusively on the clarinet.
Every Sunday afternoon for two and a half years, between 1973 and 1976, the John Carter Trio made Rudolph’s Fine Art Center their home. A former dentist’s office located at 3320 West 5oth Street in South Central Los Angeles, Rudolph’s had a raised stage at one end of the room. To the right was the green room, to the left was a door to individual rooms and a bath. In between was a little table for wine and cheese. Capacity was about 30, but there were usually fewer people than that in attendance. In this intimate setting, accompanied by his son Stanley on bass and longtime collaborator William Jeffrey on drums, Carter developed his art and grew to realize that the clarinet was his instrument of destiny.
As “Amin” shows, Carter was an original voice on soprano sax. In fact there was another tune for soprano saxophone recorded for the album, “Blues for Ruby Pearl,” but it was never released. At the last minute, Carter replaced it with “Angles,” a solo clarinet piece. As good as he was on soprano, it was on clarinet that Carter truly takes wing and soars. The new solo track signaled his transition exclusively to the instrument.
Carter released Echoes from Rudolph’s in late October or early November 1977 in an edition of only 55o copies on his own Ibedon label. “I be done” is a Black southern idiom common during John’s Texas childhood. Cornetist Bobby Bradford gives an example of its usage: “I be done go upside yo’ haid.” For Carter, the name not only connects to his Fort Worth roots, it also sounds suggestive of Africa.
The second disc of this set contains a rare broadcast recording by the trio. After Rudolph’s closed, the group was invited to perform on the Goodbye Porkpie Hat program on KPFK. Recorded in March 1977, just months before Carter added the solo clarinet track to the LP, it is very likely the last recording of Carter on soprano sax.
With most of his earliest recorded work with Bobby Bradford now back in print, Carter’s revolutionary achievements as an instrumentalist and composer can be reassessed and better appreciated. These trio sessions capture Carter at the very birth of his mature period, when clarinet became his sole instrument. In a sense, Echoes from Rudolph’s is the missing link between the New Art Jazz Ensemble of the late ‘6os/early ‘7os and his compositional masterpiece, Roots and Folklore: Episodes in the Development of American Folk Music, released on five albums throughout the 198os and one of the great triumphs of that decade.
A very special thanks to Mark Weber, without whom this release would not have been possible. A witness to the ‘7os Los Angeles scene and a friend of Bradford and Carter, he contributed the photograph of the trio at Rudolph’s, as well as the radio broadcast heard on the second disc. A copy of his test pressing of the LP was used to remaster this long lost treasure of 197os jazz. — Ed Hazell
In the late summer of 1973, upon returning from Europe, John Carter began organizing a new jazz group. John was also looking for a small concert hall for presentation of regular community concerts. At this time, Rudolph Porter had plans for utilizing his building in just the same way. Fortunately for jazz in Los Angeles, their collaboration produced two and one half years of fine jazz concerts. Rudolph’s Fine Arts Center came to be a place of varied artistic happenings, including poetry, work-shops, clinics and other musical presentations.
Rudolph’s, like many other clubs, lofts, workshops, etc., went the way of the “Landlord” in the summer of 1976. Rudolph’s echoes, echoes, echoes in the John Carter Ensemble which was organized and developed in the Sunday afternoon concerts.
Tell the saxophone players to bring their clarinets! That phrase has somehow lowered the clarinet’s priority in recent years. John Carter is a clarinet player of the first order. lie has made this almost willful little instrument, and its partner the soprano saxophone, obedient in his hands.
About the Players
Melba Joyce is one of John Carter’s favorite singers and this record is the fruit of many earlier plans and a long standing desire for these two to record. William Jeffrey, drums, is busy with finishing his B.A. require-ments and doing studio composing and arranging but finds time to bring his personal touch to John’s music. Stanley Carter, acoustic and electric bass is John’s second son and a promising young bassist with a clearly real feel for the new music. Chris Carter, John’s youngest son, plays finger cymbals and sees no difference between this and any other music.
Such is the nature of Rudolph’s and its offspring. Now, come share a piece of American culture with the John Carter Ensemble. — Bobby Bradford
Please Note: Here is an excellent article written by Mark Weber with a lot of photos. A second article on John Carter written by Mark Weber can be found by clicking here…
Double CD version (incl. shipment cost world-wide)