And then Carr forgot about the recording.
Fast forward to 2005, and Carr discovered the tape and listened to it with a fresh perspective. And he was surprised at what he heard. The music was as energetic as he remembered it, and the camaraderie among the players was obvious. This was a recording that had to be released.
And now it has been, as Friday At Five, one of Carr’s compositions featured on the CD that involves all of the musicians playing funk lines in unison over Carr’s grooves, an apparent splicing of James Brown riffs with a smoother-jazz bridge that gives each of them a chance to stretch out in solos. Carr’s compositions are varied, though, each one containing a separate feel or harmonic approach. "Movin’ On" connotes a feeling of melancholy, giving Carr the opportunity to perform a ballad convincingly with single-line melody subject to his slight vibrato. Carr’s tribute to The Genius involves the Santa Cruz group reveling in a shuffle beat over blues changes, and John Bailey plays as if a man afire, elevating the performance to one of excitement and flair. Donny McCaslin has his moments too, especially on "Coast-To-Coast," a smooth jazz piece that the saxophonist stirs with urgency that swells from his first sustained note throughout the gradual narrative-like build-up of his solo over the repeated chords that regularly anticipate the beat.
In addition to the reunion tracks involving all six musicians, Carr highlights his own work in a quartet setting without the horns. "Gramercy Groove," with its infectious identifying guitar lines of slight distortion and percolating movement, contrasts locomotion with ease of melodic statement. And Carr plays "Fly Away" on his own as a tribute to Laura Ann Carr (his mother?) as he overdubs his work on acoustic guitar for melody, electric guitar for back-up and piano for accompaniment.
Fortunately, Kenny Carr occasionally cleans out his drawers or basement or studio or wherever he found the forgotten tape that recalled the time eight years ago when he got together with his high school friends, more than a decade after the fact, to record a CD. Maybe the airplay that Friday At Five creates will lead to another reunion sooner rather than later.