Benny Carter, Trumpeter

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Benny Carter (1907-2003) is indelibly identified as a master of the alto saxophone, to the point where many listeners new to his work don't know that he was also one of the great trumpet soloists of the 1930s. He gave up the horn for several years, concentrating on alto sax, composing and arranging. When he picked up the trumpet again and spent six weeks reconditioning his chops, he regained his distinctive tone and expansive way of improvising. He was always in search of perfection.

Seriously, though, here is Carter at the 1977 Montreux Jazz Festival, playing trumpet and alto saxophone. The rhythm section is Ray Bryant, piano; Niels-Henning Ørsted Pederson, bass; and Jimmie Smith, drums. The video has a case of the tremors, but the sound quality is fine.

The entire Carter quartet session at Montreux is on this CD. If you would like to hear him on clarinet, an instrument he mastered in the 1920s and, unfortunately, abandoned in the forties, listen to the title track of this album.

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This story appears courtesy of Rifftides by Doug Ramsey.
Copyright © 2015. All rights reserved.

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