Tacuma and Weston come out of Ornette Coleman's Prime Time band of the '70s, and that frenetic feel dominates the screaming "Motown Mash." But Carter is such a lyrical player, and his tone is always as big as those of the Texas tenor players of the '50s, that even the more far-out material works. Coleman's concept of collective improvisation is much mellower on the title cut, "Requiem for Hartford Ave.," and the howling blues of "Drafadelic in D-flat." Carter's own compositions, "There's a Paddle" and "GP," are tamer because the playing is centered on a composition rather than improvisation. But guitarists Johnson and Ribot are both such singular players that anything they do has an edge to it.
Issued at the same time as Layin' in the Cut is another Carter CD, Chasin' the Gypsy, the saxophonist's salute to guitarist Django Reinhardt. It, too, is a delightful album featuring stellar band members like Regina Carter on violin and drummer Joey Baron. But for spirited ensemble playing that takes the jazz tradition into the future, there has not been another release this year as exemplary as Layin' in the Cut.