In early 1967 Rick Hall’s Fame set-up was missing a vital ingredient. Despite all the success he had achieved as a producer, studio-owner, publisher and record label boss, he had yet to sign an enduring artist. That was about to change. The previous year a duo who recorded as Clarence & Calvin hired the studio to cut a self-financed single. They had been working together for five years and had just left a deal with Houston-based Duke Records. As he watched them, Hall thought he had found his stars and urged them to come back and sign with him. When the day came, only Clarence Carter appeared. At first, Hall was dismissive of the singer’s pleas to be signed as a solo act but eventually relented and gave him a go.
To hear bassist Kent Carter on this '84 recording is to hear the bassist in an entirely different context than anything his work with Steve Lacy and Paul Bley would belie. Always an artist with a penchant for strengthening an ensemble and its collective voice, Carter has comprised his ostensibly "solo" work of exercises and experiments documenting his search for a unified string conception in a group context. The use of overdubbed parts on everything from Ligeti-esque soundmasses to Eastern European folk explorations on his '74 Emanem recording, Beauvais Cathedral, point directly to Carter as something more than a sideman. Of late featuring Albrecht Maurer and Emmanuelle Roch on violin and viola, respectively, the Trio in this early incarnation consists of Carter, Portuguese violinist Carlos Zingaro (who has since become a mainstay of the Lisbon free music scene), and French violist Francois Dreno. One of the most noticeable things about this string configuration is the replacement of the usual cello with the bass (and Carter is an accomplished cellist as well).