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Kenyon Carter – Game On

July 14, 2015

A story of motivation, overcoming adversity, realizing a dream, massaging and honing a vision, and bringing it all home to bear in a recording. That’s what we have here in this latest endeavor by saxman Kenyon Carter, a man of sheer determination, Kenyon Carterimagination, and drive who survived a serious car crash that mangled his right arm and left doctors uncertain as to whether the broken appendage with severe radial nerve damage would ever function normally again. However, after months and hours of practicing to play sax again, sheer inspiration and inner strength helped push the saxman successfully through it all.

The result is this latest release Game On which, as he puts it, is “the next snapshot in my life, a decision to go for it musically and hold nothing back. While my injury definitely changed the course of my life, it didn’t define me or hold me back. It was unbelievably scary to think that I would never play saxophone again, but I know I was given a second shot at life and I’m grateful to have gained the clarity to pursue what I really want in life – both personally and professionally.”

The project, completely written and produced by Carter, features guitar guru Chuck Loeb on the blistering title track and has some fantastic horn arrangements throughout.

In addition to the title track, my personal picks include the light and airy “Just A Smile,” the sizzlin’ and funky “Jammin’ on Juniper,” the motorin’ “Moving Forward” (and is it ever movin’!), the sassy “Wine On Eight,” the wildly seductive “Lights Down Low,” and the sweetly reflective “In This Moment.”

In a nutshell, here again is proof of what sheer determination and will can do. If this effort can’t convince one to never say “never,” I don’t know what will. Two thumbs up effort. – Ronald Jackson