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At The Village Vanguard

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Album Review

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.


Born: 16 May 1930 in Flint, MI

Genre: Jazz

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

Arguably the most adventurous female jazz singer of all time, Betty Carter was an idiosyncratic stylist and a restless improviser who pushed the limits of melody and harmony as much as any bebop horn player. The husky-voiced Carter was capable of radical, off-the-cuff reworkings of whatever she sang, abruptly changing tempos and dynamics, or rearranging the lyrics into distinctive, off-the-beat rhythmic patterns. She could solo for 20 minutes, scat at lightning speed, or drive home an emotion with...
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At The Village Vanguard, Betty Carter
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