The jazz section in your local record store these days could really make due with just two sections: “Albums J.P. Carter Plays On”, and “Other”. Which is a roundabout way of saying that I’m a big fan of the Vancouver’s trumpet player’s deranged dialectic of slow, flowing beautiful jazz lines and unhinged, guitar pedal-driven skree. I’ve seen him charm supper club audiences with smooth bebop lines, and I’ve seen him melt faces off with a Proco Rat at illegal art galleries. While both are great on their own, it’s most interesting when he seamlessly blends the two seemingly contradictory sounds. That curiously perfect mix is in abundance on the Inhabitants latest Drip Audio disc, A Vacant Lot.
From a haunting down-tempo start with the first two tracks, the band slowly builds into “Over It Begin”: a hellishly noisy psychedelic nighmare that moves into lithe and punchy funk grooves, underneath trippy delayed trumpet weirdness. The album then takes another breather for some softer sounds before kicking it into overdrive again on “Let Youth Be Served”, finally bringing it back down to earth with the quiet and beautiful album-closer “Pacific Central”.
A kick ass album, possibly the best I’ve heard from Vancouver’s relentlessly superb free-improv scene. I picture Miles Davis in heaven talking to some sundry god or angel: “Motherfuckers can play.”.