Between December 28, 1934 and May 7, 1935, arranger and multi-instrumentalist Benny Carter recorded with four very different groups: he sat in with clarinetist Buster Bailey and His Seven Chocolate Dandies, and with the orchestras of Willie Bryant, Bob Howard, and Charlie Barnet. Bryant was a white vocalist who led an excellent Afro-American big band; Barnet clearly learned a lot from Carter, who helped his band to develop a more authentic jazz "backbone." Bob Howard was Decca's professional Fats Waller imitator; his best moments on record always involved his own style rather than covers of Waller's Victor Bluebird hits. The Buster Bailey sides in particular are quite uncommon (tracks one through three). But the reason to hone in on this compilation is Carter himself, the man who greatly improved every ensemble that he worked with. Released in 1995, Vol. 4 in the Masters of Jazz survey of the swing era portion of Carter's lengthy career contains four alternate takes out of 24 tracks. That's just enough to satisfy cravings for comparison without duplicating practically every title right on down the line, as do other volumes in this series.
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AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf