Volume eight in the Masters of Jazz history of early Benny Carter is set in various corners of the Netherlands and in Paris, France. On March 27, 1937, while visiting Laren in northern Holland, Carter made a series of swing records with the Ramblers, a nine-piece band under the direction of Teho Uden Masman. Sounding very much at home jamming in the company of individuals with names like Kees, Sal and Wim, Carter blew trumpet, clarinet, and alto and tenor saxophones. Tracks one through eight document this session for posterity; each title was recorded twice. Tracks nine through twelve were recorded in Paris on April 28, 1937, under the aegis of Coleman Hawkins and His All-Star Jam Band. These marvelously uplifting performances combined the energies of reedmen Hawkins, Carter, Andre Ekyan, and Alix Combelle with those of violinist Stéphane Grappelli, guitarist Django Reinhardt, string bassist Eugene D'Hellemmes and ex-Jelly Roll Morton drummer Tommy Benford. Carter blows trumpet on tracks 11 and 12, and the clarinet solo on "Sweet Georgia Brown" is by Combelle. The remaining tracks (13 through 25) were recorded in The Hague on August 17 and 18, 1937 by two different groups billed as Benny Carter's Orchestra. The first was a 13-piece big band; the second, heard on tracks 18 through 25, featured tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins. Like most volumes in the Masters of Jazz series, this compilation fairly bristles with alternate takes. Seven of the titles are played twice and "My Buddy" occurs thrice. Unless you have a hankering to compare the solos and subtle nuances of multiple renditions, it might be wise to seek out the master takes from these historical swing sessions.
AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf