Similar artists



Vocal Jazz - Released August 2, 1993 | Parlophone UK

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard - Stereophile: Record To Die For
These recordings can be considered the final ones of Betty Carter's early period for, by the time she next appeared on record (in 1969), the singer was much more adventurous in her improvisations. This CD reissues eight selections from Carter's rather brief 1964 Roulette LP (under 26 minutes), plus it adds seven previously unissued numbers from 1965. On the former date Carter (who is quite memorable on "This Is Always," "Some Other Time," and "Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most") is accompanied by pianist Harold Mabern, bassist Bob Cranshaw, and drummer Roy McCurdy, while the "new" session ("There Is No Greater Love" and "You're a Sweetheart" are the standouts) features guitarist Kenny Burrell plus an unknown rhythm section in the backup band. Highly recommended to Betty Carter fans and to those listeners who find her later work somewhat forbidding. ~ Scott Yanow

Vocal Jazz - Released May 2, 2012 | Le Chant du Monde

Booklet Distinctions Indispensable JAZZ NEWS

Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released June 15, 2013 | Jazz Musts

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard

Jazz - Released August 30, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard

Pop - Released September 4, 2009 | Parlophone UK

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard

Jazz - Released January 1, 1993 | Verve Reissues

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Betty Carter's remarkable early-'70s LPs were initially available only on her own poorly distributed label. This live date captured Carter when her voice was its most pliable, her delivery in full bloom and her range and power at their peak. She could scat with a fury and rhythmic intensity that were almost magical, then turn a slow tune like "The Sun Died" or "Body and Soul" into a showcase by emphasizing key lyrics, subtly changing each stanza, or increasing the pace at an unexpected moment. This deserves full attention, as it represents Betty Carter still evolving and perfecting her matchless technique. ~ Ron Wynn

Jazz - Released June 13, 1988 | Verve

This well-rounded set gives listeners a good look at the adventurous music of Betty Carter. For this CD, she is joined by one of two rhythm sections (with either Benny Green or Stephen Scott on piano) and, on four of the nine songs, tenor saxophonist Don Braden. Carter twists and turns some familiar songs (such as "The Man I Love," "Imagination" and "The Good Life") along with a variety of lesser-known material including two songs of her own. Consistently unpredictable (whether scatting or stretching out ballads) Betty Carter's recordings are always quite stimulating. ~ Scott Yanow

Jazz - Released August 15, 1980 | Verve Reissues

After years of being told what she ought to do by record companies and producers, and then putting up with being ignored thanks to the public's fanatic interest in rock & roll, virtuoso jazz singer Carter started her own label. After getting her feet wet with the first few releases, she came up with this double album, which some fans would consider her masterpiece. Eventually it was licensed to Verve. The set is as faithful as possible; a transcription of her nightclub sets with piano trio backing. Interestingly enough, it is not actually recorded at a nightclub per se, because the Great American Music Hall, formerly one of San Francisco's most posh bordellos, is actually more a small theatre, with the set up just intimate enough to pull off this kind of live recording. A pity that the singer herself had to fund the project, because, in 1980, it was much more expensive and complicated to record live than it would become decades later with new technology. And no doubt Carter had to cut a few corners and make do with the results. So, most listeners will have some quibble with the sound, wishing, for example, for much more piano presence, more clarity from the drums, and so forth. This would have to be the only complaints that could be allowed over this material, recorded over three nights, and no doubt allowing plenty of choice of takes. "Sounds (Movin' On)" is Carter's "Chasin' the Trane": it is a bit more than 25 minutes worth of vocal improvisation, use of the voice as an instrument in interplay with the other musicians, and, above all, sheer energy, which is one thing it definitely has in common with the aforementioned Coltrane performance. Another thing in common with Coltrane would be the pianist, John Hicks, who comes out of McCoy Tyner, the saxophonist's main piano accompanist. Hicks goes just about as far out as his notoriously anti-avant-garde boss will allow in these circumstances. The remaining three sides are a mixture of standards and songs written by Carter. Her songwriting talents are an area that has definitely been overshadowed by her singing chops in terms of critical reception. The fourth side of this set, which consists almost totally of her originals, is a good place for one to explore the beautiful, tough-minded songs she writes. Other high points are the lovely exploration of "Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most" and, of course, the fast numbers. There is not a singer alive that takes on the tempos Betty Carter does, and it is a good thing, too. Otherwise, the cardiac wards would be full of drummers and there would be no room for anyone else to get treatment. An interesting choice amongst the songs is a version of "Caribbean Sun," written by the under-appreciated saxophonist Carlos Garnett. Carter's original gatefold packaging included a photo of the entire audience. ~ Eugene Chadbourne

Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released March 29, 2019 | Blue Engine Records


Pop - Released April 30, 2016 | Vocal Classics


Jazz - Released September 30, 2016 | Columbia - Legacy

This LP contains singer Betty Carter's earliest recordings. On one date she is heard performing six standards with a quartet also featuring pianist Ray Bryant ("I Could Write a Book" and "The Way You Look Tonight" are highpoints). The other session, which was only released for the first time in 1980, has five songs on which Carter is joined by a 14-piece band arranged by Gigi Gryce; this version of "Social Call" is a classic. Naturally Carter sounds much more conventional on these performances than she would 30 to 40 years later, but already her voice was immediately recognizable. ~ Scott Yanow

Jazz - Released January 1, 2003 | Verve

This collection of Betty Carter's Verve material may not literally be her finest hour of recorded music, but it is easily her finest hour of recordings for the labels associated with Verve, which include not only her later Verve recordings, but also those on ABC from the early 1960s. There are 14 cuts on the set, including such well-known Carter performances as "In the Still of the Night," her theme, "Open the Door" "What a Little Moonlight Can Do," "Dropping Things," "Tight," "You're Driving Me Crazy," and others. This is a solid selection of Carter's artistry. It's true that she recorded for so many labels that a complete introduction is almost impossible, but this will serve both fans and beginners well. ~ Thom Jurek

Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2005 | Gambit Records


Jazz - Released August 27, 1996 | Columbia - Legacy


Jazz - Released January 1, 1976 | Verve Reissues

Originally put out by singer Betty Carter on her Bet-Car label, this set from her struggling years has since been reissued on CD by Verve. Joined by either Daniel Mixon or Onaje Alan Gumbs on piano, bassist Buster Wiliams and Louis Hayes or Chip Lyles on drums, Betty Carter really digs into the material (the majority of which are her originals), using unusual tempoes (and sometimes quick changes) and coming up with rather spontaneous and sometimes abstract interpretations; "You're a Sweetheart" (which has remained in Carter's repertoire for years) is a highlight. ~ Scott Yanow

Jazz - Released June 11, 2019 | volare restart


Jazz - Released August 10, 2018 | Bella Donna


Jazz - Released March 13, 2015 | Jazz Archives Records


Jazz - Released March 17, 2017 | HCR Music


Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released March 1, 2019 | Blue Engine Records