Benny Carter

Frenesi: Quintet Sessions, 1946-1954

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This Blue Moon compilation makes available to the world a wonderful swatch of Benny Carter's quintet recordings, recorded under the supervision of Norman Granz in Los Angeles between April 1946 and November 1954. The saxophonist's rendering of "The Moon Is Low" stands as a perfect (and quite possibly deliberate) sequel to Fats Waller's multiple versions of the same song recorded several years earlier. Collectively, Carter is teamed with excellent players: guitarists Allan Reuss, Barney Kessel, and Herb Ellis; bassists Artie Bernstein and Ray Brown; drummers Bobby White, Buddy Rich, and J.C. Heard; as well as pianists Oscar Peterson, Arnold Ross, and Panama-born Ellerton Oswald, known professionally as Sonny White. Even given the unusual duration and diversity of his remarkable recording career, this must rate among the essential Benny Carter compilations. His stunning virtuosity places Carter in the company of Johnny Hodges, Russell Procope, and Charlie Parker in the jazz evolution of the alto saxophone.

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