Saxophonist Jimmy Carpenter is one of the unsung heroes of the 24/7/365 world of New Orleans music, a mainstay from Frenchmen Street to the Maple Leaf in a variety of settings and an indispensable element in one of the city’s hottest working bands, Walter “Wolfman” Washington and the Roadmasters.
Carpenter showed he had a frontman’s vision on the terrific 2009 release, Toiling in Obscurity, and now he’s followed it up with another understated gem.
Walk Away showcases Carpenter’s unrecognized skills as a songwriter and singer in addition to his soulful tenor-saxophone playing (check out his breaks on “She’s Not You” and the tenor showcases “7th Street Shuffle” and “C King Blues”).
Carpenter changes gears smoothly from R&B to funk, ballads, blues and jazz, with terrific support from many of his New Orleans bandmates and running partners.
The great guitarist John Fohl really lets it rip on “When You’re Ready,” and powers the core band along with Casandra Faulconer on bass, John Gros on keyboards, Wayne Maureau on drums and Michael Skinkus on percussion.
Anson Funderburgh and Mike Zito take guest turns on lead guitar.