Benny Carter led a big band for a few years during the 1940s, though he never was a commercial success because he was true to himself rather than choosing material of no interest to him. This collection of West Coast radio broadcasts from 1943 marks a transition point as a bit of bop works its way into some of the solos. Liner note writer Scott Yanow makes an educated guess as to the personnel, which includes trumpeters Snooky Young and Gerald Wilson, a young J.J. Johnson on trombone, and tenor saxophonists Bumps Myers and Gene Porter, among others. Carter, of course, is the arranger and main soloist, playing alto sax and a bit of trumpet on two tracks. These performances stand up against any of the era's big bands, and with the lack of novelty numbers, they don't sound the least bit dated. There is some surface noise that couldn't be removed from the remastering of the source material (likely transcription discs) without sacrificing the higher frequencies, but that is not going to keep any Benny Carter fan from seeking this disc, which lapsed from print with the demise of Drive Archive a few years after its 1996 re-release.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden