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New York Nights

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Album Review

To say that Benny Carter is a marvel is to make an obvious understatement. 87 at the time of this live quartet set (which also includes pianist Chris Neville, bassist Steve LaSpina and drummer Sherman Ferguson), Carter could easily pass for 47, playing without any hesitant or faltering moments in a timeless swing style that he largely invented. There are no surprises to the repertoire other than the fact that Carter's perennial set opener "On Green Dolphin Street" (which is to him what "Indiana" was to Louis Armstrong in the 1950s) is programmed sixth. Two of the songs ("Easy Money" and "When Lights are Low") are Carter's, while the other pieces have been performed by him hundreds of times through the years. No matter; Benny Carter comes up with fresh variations during his enthusiastic solos, including a classic statement on "Secret Love." His logical and thoughtful improvisations manage to be unpredictable, except in their consistent excellence. An easily recommended set from an apparently ageless master.


Born: 08 August 1907 in New York, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

To say that Benny Carter had a remarkable and productive career would be an extreme understatement. As an altoist, arranger, composer, bandleader, and occasional trumpeter, Carter was at the top of his field since at least 1928, and in the late '90s, Carter was as strong an altoist at the age of 90 as he was in 1936 (when he was merely 28). His gradually evolving style did not change much through the decades, but neither did it become at all stale or predictable except in its excellence. Benny Carter...
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