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Jazz - Released January 1, 1987 | Fantasy Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Benny Carter had already been a major jazz musician for nearly 30 years when he recorded this particularly strong septet session for Contemporary. With notable contributions from tenor saxophonist Ben Webster, trombonist Frank Rosolino and guitarist Barney Kessel, Carter (who plays a bit of trumpet on "How Can You Lose") is in superb form on a set of five standards and two of his originals. This timeless music is beyond the simple categories of "swing" or "bop" and should just be called "classic." © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Blues - Released January 1, 1988 | Contemporary

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Combining altoist Benny Carter with pianist Earl Hines in a quartet is an idea with plenty of potential, but the results of this 1958 session are relaxed rather than explosive. Carter and Hines explore a dozen tunes (standards as well as forgotten songs like "All Alone" and "Mary Lou") with respect and light swing, but one wishes that there were a bit more competitiveness to replace some of the mutual respect. [Originally released in 1958, Swingin' the Twenties was digitally remastered on CD in 1988 and includes bonus tracks. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2004 | Blue Note Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Sax ala Carter! was originally released in 1960, and as the liner notes point out, was meant for a general audience. That means that the songs are popular standards and the renditions offered here are fairly short (none reach the four-minute mark). Having said all this, one might expect Sax ala Carter! to resemble cocktail jazz, but it doesn't. Instead, the listener is treated to an intimate set made up of fine ensemble work by Carter, pianist Jimmy Rowles, bassist Leroy Vinnegar, and drummer Mel Lewis on favorites like "Far Away Places," "I Should Care," and "Everything I Have Is Yours." The solos by Carter and Rowles are compact, with both players sticking close to the melody line. Nonetheless, their solos are tastefully energetic and achieve an air of grace. Standouts include a bouncy take on "All or Nothing at All" and a soulful version of "I'll Never Smile Again." The walking bass of Vinnegar also adds buoyancy to the performances on Sax ala Carter!, guaranteeing that the music is always flowing freely. The 2004 release of the album adds three bonus cuts, "Ennui" and two takes of "Friendly Islands." Incredibly, this entire album was recorded in one day on February 5, 1960. A fun treat. © Ronnie D. Lankford Jr. /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1996 | Verve Reissues

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
The remarkable Benny Carter, who had first recorded 25 years earlier, was not even halfway through with his career when he started making sessions for Verve. This double CD wraps up the complete reissuance of all of his Verve albums. The distinctive and lyrical altoist is backed by strings throughout the first disc (16 songs plus ten alternate takes), but there is nothing sleepy about the music. The string arrangements (half by Joe Glover and half by Carter himself) are tasteful and provide a cushion for Carter's melodic but unpredictable horn; this is far from mere mood music. Most of the second disc matches the ageless altoist with trumpeter Roy Eldridge and a rhythm section. Some heat is generated, and most unusual are four unique numbers on which Eldridge duets with drummer Alvin Stoller (one has Roy overdubbing some basic piano), although Roy mostly follows the chord changes. In addition, there is a leftover alternate take from a Carter session with the Oscar Peterson quartet and two exciting selections in a sextet with trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie and trombonist Bill Harris. Easily recommended, this is a perfectly conceived series. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released April 10, 2020 | Vax Records

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Jazz - Released July 26, 1994 | Verve Reissues

These timeless Benny Carter performances match the great altoist with pianist Oscar Peterson, bassist Ray Brown, either Barney Kessel or Herb Ellis on guitar, Buddy Rich, J.C. Heard or Bobby White on drums, and, on four numbers, trombonist Bill Harris. The 17 standards (four of which are also heard in alternate versions) are treated with respect, taste, and swing. Carter always sounds flawless and is in excellent form throughout this enjoyable set. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1966 | Impulse!

Altoist/arranger Benny Carter's classic Further Definitions is a revisiting, instrumentation-wise, to the famous 1937 session that Carter and tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins made in France with two top European saxophonists (Andre Ekyan and Alix Combelle) and guitarist Django Reinhardt. The all-star group (which also includes Hawkins, altoist Phil Woods, Charlie Rouse on second tenor, pianist Dick Katz, guitarist John Collins, bassist Jimmy Garrison, and drummer Jo Jones) performs a particularly inspired repertoire. Carter's charts, which allow Hawkins to stretch out on "Body and Soul," give everyone a chance to shine. "Honeysuckle Rose" and "Crazy Rhythm" hold their own with the 1937 versions, and "Blue Star" and "Doozy" prove to be two of Carter's finest originals. Although Benny Carter was not actively playing much at the time (this was his only small-group recording during 1963-1975), he is heard in typically prime form. Very highly recommended. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1991 | Verve

Has there ever been a more consistent performer in jazz history over a longer period of time than Benny Carter? The classic altoist, who had fully formed his sound by the early '30s (he first recorded in 1927), has not altered his style much in the past 65 (and counting) years. The music on this Verve reissue CD features Carter in three settings: in a trio with pianist Teddy Wilson and drummer Jo Jones (those performances were only previously out in Japan), heading a quartet with pianist Don Abney, bassist George Duvivier and drummer Louis Bellson and showcased on three previously unissued tracks with the Oscar Peterson trio plus drummer Bobby White. Carter knew most of these standards extremely well and he glides effortlessly over the chord changes, infusing the music with swing and subtle creativity. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1996 | MusicMasters

Due to his being such a talented altoist, arranger and occasional trumpeter for seven decades, it is often forgotten that Benny Carter wrote some worthy songs along the way. "When Lights Are Low" and "Blues in My Heart" are standards while "Only Trust Your Heart," "Key Largo" and the novelty hit "Cow-Cow Boogie" are close. For this unusual set, 14 different singers had opportunities to interpret one or two Carter compositions while joined by a fine quintet consisting of cornetist Warren Vache, pianist Chris Neville, bassist Steve LaSpina, drummer Sherman Ferguson and Carter himself (88 at the time!) on alto. The ambitious program includes five Carter songs that were receiving their world premiere; in addition Carter also wrote or co-wrote the lyrics to nine of the pieces. The singers all show respect for the melody and words with Jon Hendricks being playful on "Cow-Cow Boogie," Joe Williams quite touching on "I Was Wrong" and a weakened Peggy Lee making a memorable cameo on "I See You." The vocalists consistently seem quite inspired by the unique project. There are many short Carter and Warren Vache solos and, even with the emphasis on ballads, there is more variety than one might expect. The well-conceived tribute (which also has fine appearances by Dianne Reeves, Carmen Bradford, Kenny Rankin, Marlena Shaw, Diana Krall, Billy Stritch, Shirley Horn, Bobby Short, Ruth Brown, Weslia Whitfield and Nancy Marano) is easily recommended © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released November 15, 2019 | MusicMasters

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Bebop - Released January 1, 2002 | MusicMasters

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1987 | Verve Reissues

Billy Eckstine's final recording (although he would live until 1993) finds the 72-year old singer showing his age. Mr. B's famous baritone voice at this late date only hints at his earlier greatness although his phrasing and enthusiasm uplift what could have been a depressing affair. Ironically altoist Benny Carter (who was 79) still sounds in his prime on alto and he takes an effective trumpet solo on "September Song." Singer Helen Merrill opens and closes the set by interacting vocally with Eckstine on "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To" and "Didn't We." Eckstine, backed by a trio headed by his longtime pianist Bobby Tucker, does his best on such songs as "My Funny Valentine," "Memories of You" and "Autumn Leaves" but his earlier recordings are the ones to get. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1990 | Storyville Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1959 | CAPITOL CATALOG MKT (C92)

This CD reissues an enjoyable obscurity. Although originally associated with big bands, the set has what was Benny Carter's only big-band recording as a playing leader during 1947-86. While the song titles are a bit gimmicky, saluting the 12 months of the year (including "June in January," "I'll Remember April," "June Is Busting Out All Over," etc.), the music (which includes four alternate takes) is solid, mainstream big-band swing. The less familiar titles include four Carter originals written for the date, plus Hal Schaefer's "February Fiesta." The leader/altoist solos on every selection, and among the other top West Coast studio players featured are trumpeters Shorty Sherock, Pete Candoli and Joe Gordon, trombonists Frank Rosolino and Herbie Harper, vibraphonist Larry Bunker, pianists Arnold Ross and Gerry Wiggins, and guitarist Barney Kessel. Two overlapping big bands were utilized, and the music alternates between being forceful and lyrical. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2005 | Verve Reissues

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2009 | Original Jazz Classics

One of Benny Carter's last jazz recordings before he became totally immersed in writing for the studios, this set matches his alto and trumpet with tenor great Ben Webster, clarinetist Barney Bigard and trumpeter Shorty Sherock on a pair of lengthy blues and Carter's "Lula" and "When Lights Are Low." All of the swing all-stars are in fine form, making one wish that they were not being so neglected by critics and fans alike during this era; Webster soon left the U.S. permanently for Europe. Although not essential, this set is fun. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1975 | Fantasy Records

Norman Granz and Pablo Records took over a large segment of the 1975 Montreux Jazz Festival and many recordings resulted. This particular CD is a colorful reissue featuring trumpeters Roy Eldridge and Clark Terry, Zoot Sims on tenor, altoist Benny Carter, guitarist Joe Pass, pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Keter Betts, and drummer Bobby Durham performing four fairly lengthy renditions of standards. Everyone is in fine form, but it is the joyful playing of the two complementary but contrasting trumpeters (both of whom can be immediately recognized in a note or two) that makes this a recommended set for fans of straight-ahead jazz. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1996 | Evening Star

Alto saxophonists Benny Carter and Phil Woods were great friends and enjoyed playing together on a number of record dates, though this double-CD live recording from a 1996 extended gig at the Regattabar proved to be the former's final release before he retired from active performing a few years afterward. A few months shy of 89 years old at the time, Carter still gives his all on his instrument and sounds like someone decades younger, while Woods' naturally more outgoing style proves complementary to the senior musician. Backed by a strong rhythm section, including Carter's long-time pianist Chris Neville, bassist John Lockwood, and drummer Sherman Ferguson, the two saxophonists have a ball as they play favorite standards, several Carter compositions, and gems penned by other jazz musicians. While fans of Carter and Woods will be delighted with this entire release, there are a few surprises. Carter's bluesy feature of "Willow Weep for Me" marks the only time he ever recorded it. The duo's robust, swinging setting of "On the Sunny Side of the Street" is a gem, as is Carter's swaggering "A Walkin' Thing." Beautifully recorded, this final meeting between Benny Carter and Phil Woods is one for the ages. © Ken Dryden /TiVo
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Jazz - Released March 19, 1997 | MusicMasters

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Jazz - Released December 10, 2013 | Editions Audiovisuel Beulah