Occasionally, Carter -- a master of all reeds -- flashes so much skill, he loses a song's sense. Not here. This Billie Holiday tribute offers sometimes lush, always thoughtful contexts in which he focuses on melody and story line. His overdubbed choir of baritone, tenor, and F-mezzo saxes swings mightily on ''I'm in a Lowdown Groove,'' while ''Strange Fruit'' achieves a stirring climax. And Greg Cohen's tasteful strings form perfect springboards for Carter's purposeful improvisations.