The intuitive spirit that comes from within is what a musician draws upon to assess his innate ability to create art. In most instances, not everyone can rise to the forefront to be recognized for their creativity, but every now and again lightning does strike a chord and musical magic is made. In the case of an individual by the name of Mark Carter, West Coast Groove sets the stage for an aesthetically enhancing CD that works well for most smooth jazz enthusiasts.
On this his second CD as a soloist, Carter's dynamic and energetic style paints a musical jazzscape of panoramic melodies, cutting edge harmonies and strategically placed rhythms. This time out, Carter carries on a legacy of celebration he exhibited on his 2001 release entitled It's About Time, which was received with much-heralded acclaim. In addition, the album also paid tribute to the contributions of Wes Montgomery and Grant Green. With West Coast Groove, Mark makes a joyful noise to highlight and magnify life in beautiful Southern California. His signature guitar skills are further enhanced by the use of his Gibson 335 electric guitar, an instrument that magnifies his cool-sided approach to jazz. Mark's vibrant style captures the essence of the so-called West Coast Groove. His portrayal of life as a Southern California resident and all that it encompasses has all of the attributes of a breezy but sunny Pacific coastline. The ambiance of such a setting is aesthetically delightful.
When listening to West Coast Groove, I found Carter's embrace of the smooth side of jazz filled with the influences of Wes Montgomery; however, as an individual artist he manages to maintain his own identity with undying passion and homage to Wes. Mark's musical prescence radiates with brilliance and draws upon his positive mental attributes on life. While making this recording, it is quite obvious that Mark and his band of merry men, were having fun making this CD happen. Included in that mix were special guests Michael Paulo and Eric Marienthal, both of whom have already established themselves as prominent figures in the smooth jazz arena. All in all, West Coast Groove is all about perspective and the manner in which Carter approaches life on a day-to-day basis. Beyond the shadow of any doubt, this CD is a beautifully crafted piece of work, one that will catch on as more jazz enthusiasts come in contact with Mr. Mark Carter.