Review: Jimmy Carpenter ‘The Louisiana Record’

Jimmy Carpenter, The Louisiana Record

By Mike O’Cull

Two-time Blues Music Award-winning sax player Jimmy Carpenter relives the impact his years in New Orleans had on him on his new solo effort The Louisiana Record.

The album hits the streets September 16th, 2022 on Gulf Coast Records and brings us the wonderful sound of Carpenter and a great studio band exploring cover songs with Louisiana roots and themes. Carpenter lived and gigged in New Orleans from early 2004 until 2016, a period that left its mark on him and his music. “When Mike Zito, my old friend and co-owner of Gulf Coast Records, called to say it was time for me to make another record, I was super excited,” Carpenter recalls. “When he told me about his idea for a Louisiana-themed cover album, I admit I was skeptical but the longer I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. As Mike pointed out, there is no doubt that my time in New Orleans redefined me as a musician, and changed me forever on many levels.”

The Louisiana Record is filled with tunes by some of the most revered artists in the New Orleans firmament including Allen Toussaint, Fats Domino, and Dr. John. Carpenter handles sax and vocal duties and is backed up by a muscular session band made up of Mike Zito (guitars), Casandra Faulconer (bass guitar), John Gros (piano, organ), and Wayne Maureau (drums).

Jimmy Carpenter is a respected saxophonist, singer-songwriter, and arranger who has been on a musical journey for over 35 years. He’s toured with major artists like Tinsley Ellis, Jimmy Thackery, Walter Wolfman Washington, Eric Lindell, and many others. He’s also well-known as an arranger and has written horn parts for many performers. He lives in Las Vegas these days and is the Musical Director for the Big Blues Bender and leader of the Bender Brass, The Bender’s amazing house band.

Jimmy starts his party with Fats Domino’s eternal “I Hear You Knocking” and the good times just begin to roll. His vocals and sax lines are right where they should be and the band gives this classic a tight, dynamic reading. No one involved pushes too hard or tries to make the song anything but what it is. They make it feel so good you’ll want to play it twice, that’s for sure.

Carpenter and friends do an equally cool job on Camille Bob’s 1965 hit “I Got Loaded.” Casandra Faulconer and Wayne Maureau put down a pocket that’s an instant dance party while John Gros plays sweet organ lines. Jimmy, himself, is in fine form here and you can tell how much fun he’s having giving this standard a workout. Mike Zito’s always-excellent guitar playing completes the picture and the room goes up for grabs.

Dr. John’s “Travelin’ Mood” is an outstanding example of blues in the Louisiana style. Mike Zito lays down a slide solo that’ll bring you to the edge without ever breaking a sweat over a Gulf Coast groove that’s one of life’s perfect things. Of course, Jimmy rolls right through this one on sax and you’ll wish you were perched on a barstool by the stage taking it all in.

The ballad “All These Things,” written by the one-and-only Allen Toussaint, shows Jimmy’s smooth and romantic side on both sax and vocals. It’s a beautiful song that thrives in Carpenter’s able hands and his take on it shines from end to end. Be sure to also spin “Bring It On Home To Me” and “Barefootin’.” The Louisiana Record is the kind of set that will get your whole neighborhood dancing if played loud enough. Get it and get going!

Pre-order link for The Louisiana Record Here

Listen to “Something You Got”


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