reviews of flash forward

The appropriately named Flash Forward (Motema – 156) finds the MICHAEL CARVIN EXPERIENCE taking eight tunes on trips to new places. Drummer Carvin, tenor saxophonist Keith Loftus, pianist Jansen Cino and bassist Yayoi Ikawa are a well knit unit who listen to each other in a way that gives them the kind of cohesion that comes from working together over a period of time. The first five tracks concentrate on jazz tunes, “So What,” “Sayonara Blues,” “In Walked Bud,” “Same Shame” and “Night in Tunisia.” The framework for each is arranged by Carvin, but he allows ample space for his bandmates and him to bring their individualism to the fore. They also address three pop standards to conclude the program, “You Go to My Head,” lovingly caressed by Loftus and Cinco, “You Stepped Out of a Dream,” taken on an intense post-bop ride and “Autumn Leaves,” given a nicely hip, low key swing feel. Throughout Carvin is the guiding master at his drum kit, never intrusive, but always a driving force. This is definitely not background music, rather music to be taken seriously, pleasingly so. (
– Jersey Jazz

Michael Carvin, a veteran of the 1970s jazz scene who is currently 69, is an adventurous drummer whose roots are in hard bop. The same can be said for his current quartet, a unit featuring three young talents in tenor-saxophonist Keith Loftis, pianist Yayoi Ikawa and bassist Jansen Cinco. Flash Forward features the quartet playing eight standards which range from well-known songs (such as one of the better versions of “So What,” an explosive rendition of “A Night In Tunisia” and a sly arrangement of “Autumn Leaves”) to such obscurities as Horace Silver’s “Sayonara Blues” and Bobby Hutcherson’s “Same Shame.” The latter is a showcase for the adventurous playing of pianist Ikawa. While she, Cinco and Carvin (who takes a few extended improvisations) all have their places to shine, tenor-saxophonist Keith Loftis often takes solo honors. On the more high-powered performances such as “In Walked Bud,” his passionate playing is worthy of Billy Harper and Carlos Garnett. During the more soulful numbers, he is closer to Stanley Turrentine while displaying his own musical personality. Flash Forward is highly recommended to fans of modern hard bop. It is one of Michael Carvin’s most rewarding sets as a leader and it is available from
– Scott Yanow / Los Angeles Jazz Scene Magazine

The drummer produces an earthy, swirling sound while being sensitive, thanks to his crisp technique and dynamic touch. And his fiery, full-of-ideas solo on “In Walked Bud” proves who’s boss. The quartet excels whether blazing on Carvin’s killer arrangement of “Night In Tunisia” (that he originally conceived while working with Dizzy Gillespie) or deeply savoring the melody on their reserved handling of “You Go To My Head.” This is a band Carvin will likely embrace for years to come.
– Jeff Potter / Downbeat Magazine

Flash Forward is a fresh musical start for Carvin. It’s his first release for the Motema Music imprint and the first album to feature a feisty quartet dubbed The Michael Carvin Experience. And while that appellation puts Carvin on a pedestal, rightly marking him as the man who brings it all together, it doesn’t place him above or beyond his colleagues in a musical sense. He’s quick to point out that the divide between leader and side man doesn’t exist here; the music confirms that fact.
– Dan Bilawsky / All About Jazz

The veteran drummer and educator Michael Carvin has a robust recent album, “Flash Forward,” featuring the same band that appears here, with Keith Loftis on saxophone, Yayoi Ikawa on piano and Jansen Cinco on bass.
– Nate Chinen / The New York Times

On this album, the experience of Mr. Carvin’s playing is heightened. With his flying hands and feet, he appears to mimic the movements of Thelonious Monk, who seemed to dance while he played. Michael Carvin gives the impression that he is doing likewise, for even though it is not possible to see, it is possible to visualise a kind of drummers’ shuffle that is going on by merely following what he is doing on the high-hat and with the bass drums as he drops the occasional, but rhythmic depth bomb.
– Raul Da Gama /

various reviews

“Michael Carvin is … intent on maintaining the artistry that has made this tradition of percussion so original. He is truly one of my favorite drummers.”
Downbeat Magazine

“Mr. Carvin is one of Jazz’s finest drummers, someone who can compress his sound down to a whistle or spread it out like a building collapsing. ” – Peter Watrous / New York Times

“Michael Carvin is a jazz giant with a world-class band and world-class presentation. The Michael Carvin Experience will become one of the biggest jazz acts in the world.”
– Todd Barkan

“The veteran drummer is one of those rare artists who generates a specific energy…you can feel a perpetual wave of power coming from his instrument.”
– Village Voice

“You are one of the only drummers since Klook [Kenny Clarke] that I feel can play anything that I can think of.”
– John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie to Michael Carvin at the Domicil Jazz Club in Munich, Germany, 1989

“Mr. Carvin is one of Jazz’s finest drummers, someone who can compress his sound down to a whistle or spread it out like a building collapsing.”
– New York Times

“Michael Carvin is no ordinary drummer. He is a human rhythm machine.”
– Jon Hendricks

“Carvin is one of those rarities, a true band player … who lends the just-perfect dramatic emphasis. Midway through one drum solo Carvin simply and neatly created a new kind of sound-space tension that few modern drummers…sustain.”
– Downbeat Magazine

“Michael Carvin is … intent on maintaining the artistry that has made this tradition of percussion so original. He is truly one of my favorite drummers.”
– Max Roach

A jazz-percussion avatar to those who have studied with him…”
– New Yorker

“Michael Carvin is a true jazz stalwart, who has taught many of the major jazz drummers who have emerged in the last 15 years.”
– Branford Marsalis, producer of Marsalis Music Honors Michael Carvin

“Michael Carvin is a force! He changed my whole philosophy behind the kit.”
– Allison Miller

“We brought him [to Anguilla] to teach young drummers how to play and read music. Not only did he do that, he also changed the country.”
– Davon Carty, Founder & CEO, AMPP (Anguilla Music Production and Publishing Co.)