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Meet Betty Carter and Ray Bryant

Betty Carter & Ray Bryant

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Album Review

This CD features singer Betty Carter and pianist Ray Bryant at the beginning of their careers, reissuing their very first recordings as leaders. Carter's 25-year-old voice was already quite recognizable, although the improvising style on her 11 titles here is much more conservative than it would be from the 1970s on. However, Carter's scatting on "Frenesi" (which sounds like a wigged-out Carmen McRae) shows individuality, and her renditions of "Social Call," "I Could Write a Book," and "Moonlight in Vermont" are memorable. In addition, this CD has eight selections by Ray Bryant's trio with bassist Wendell Marshall and drummer Philly Joe Jones, a unit that also served as Carter's backup group on seven of her performances. A well-rounded and unclassifiable player who even at the beginning of his career mixed the drive and joy of swing with more advanced harmonies, Bryant was already long on his way toward developing his own sound in the mid-'50s. This version of "Get Happy" was previously unreleased, while "Bryant's Folly" (a rollicking blues) and "Threesome" are high points. A historic and enjoyable set.

Customer Reviews

finally found it

Heard "Moonlight in Vermont" sung by Betty Carter back in the mid 70's, off of a compilation album checked out from the library. Haunted me. Now I have found the album. So good.

Biography

Born: May 16, 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...
Full Bio
Meet Betty Carter and Ray Bryant, Betty Carter
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