XXAt The Crossroads
Label: Universal Music Group International
Although label troubles hindered James Carter's rise through the late '90s, the Detroit saxophonist has slowly put things back together. His second record of 2011, this gritty homage to the then-and-now of jazz in the Motor City opens with a blistering take on "Oh Gee" and explores blues roots with a funky, gutsy, post-bop landscape. Although there are notable guest appearances -- including guitarist Bruce Edwards -- the standout track is from the hand of drummer Leonard King, Jr., who complements Carter's shrieking, virtuosic choruses on "Lettuce Toss Yo' Salad."