"A showcase for the keyboardist's excellent musicianship" - Jazz Times
Upon completing his musical studies at the University of Miami with colleagues Pat Metheny, Will Lee, Mark Egan, and Danny Gottlieb, composer/keyboardist/vocalist Clifford Carter's first professional gig found him playing for Motown's legendary Four Tops.
The significance of this early influence can still be heard in many of the songs (and particularly the "title cut") found on Carter's solo debut CD for Soul Coast: "Walkin' Into The Sun". Carter has been a featured sideman for such artists as : James Taylor, Herbie Mann, George Benson, Nancy Wilson, and has also been a member of two well-known bands: The 24th Street Band (w/ Will Lee, Hiram Bullock, & Steve Jordan) and Elements (w/ Mark Egan, Dan Gottlieb, & Bill Evans). "Walkin' Into The Sun" not only marks Clifford's debut as a solo instrumental artist, but also as a vocalist, with a style similar to that of Michael Franks, yet another artist for whom Carter has recorded and toured.
When asked to comment on a few cuts from his new CD, Carter shed some light on the opening track: "Wavetrain" by noting: "I had the opportunity to do several gigs with a quartet that featured bassist Steve Rodby (Pat Metheny Band), guitarist Ross Traut, and Lyle Mays' current drummer Mark Walker. This opening cut, which helps to establish the mood of the CD was inspired by the music played by that quartet."
"Nothin' Left To Do" showcases a unique combination of acoustic instruments playing rhythm & blues. Clifford notes: "This tune came together shortly before the tracking sessions. When I heard that Luis Conte was going to play percussion, I wanted a vehicle for him to have some fun. He did! This tune also comes from my love for the rhythms and form of James Brown's music."
In speaking about the title cut, Carter says: "I've had this title ("Walkin' Into The Sun") floating around my head for years! It finally unfolded as a tune that includes messages from people close to me, who have left a lasting impression on me, and in addition; some autobiographical images. Steve Rodby's unique acoustic bass style, along with Luis Conte on percussion, creates the musical identity on this track. Special thanks also go to Bob Sheppard for a great sax solo!"
When a musician accepts the challenge of making the difficult transition from "sideman" to "solo artist", presenting a debut album such as "Walkin' Into The Sun", with it's songs of personal depth and character, coupled with strong musical performances from Carter and friends, can only help to firmly establish Clifford Carter as an artist unto himself.
Check out the artist's website:
2. Walkin' Into The Sun
3. As One
8. Nothin' Left To Do
10. Robots In The Jungle
11. Caves Of Kalalau
12. Mashed Potato Nothin Pt. 1