Monday, December 22, 2008

The Inimitable John Carter

In the unsung hero department, John Carter looms large. He was a virtuoso clarinetist with a unparalleled ability to interpret complex historical events, transforming them into personal statements of complete artistic integrity. He never stopped evolving; in 1982 (at the age of 52), he released Dauhwe, the first in a five-suite series exploring African American historical experiences and narratives (Dauhwe, Castles of Ghana, Dance of the Love Ghosts, Fields, and Shadows on a Wall). I strongly believe that this large-cycle suite, Roots and Folklore: Episodes in the Development of American Folk Music, is one of the great musical achievements of the twentieth century, as well as a consummate example of the suite's versatility and power as a form. He died in 1991, two years after Shadows came out.

"On a Country Road" is from the fourth suite, Fields: Seven Vignettes Depicting Life During the Fields Period in Early America.
John Carter - On a Country Road (1988)

"Fast Fannie's Cakewalk" is from an earlier suite, A Suite of Early American Folk Pieces, for solo clarinet.
John Carter - Fast Fannie's Cakewalk (1979)


Ken Thomson said...

I was looking for his music to play at the Bang on a Can Institute. Is any of it published? I'm worried that history is going to forget him ...

Entrap Vapor said...

Nothing has been published to the best of my knowledge. I would love to track some down.