Cut in between early stints with both Fletcher Henderson and McKinney's Cotton Pickers and a lengthy European sojourn, composer/arranger/multi-instrumentalist Benny Carter laid down some of his most important big-band sides from 1933-1934. This excellently remastered disc on JSP assays the fertile stretch over 24 of Carter's best sides. Some of the earlier cuts here include four stunners Carter recorded with his Chocolate Dandies ("Once Upon a Time," "Krazy Kapers," etc.), which included the likes of tenor great Chu Berry, trumpeter Max Kaminsky, pianist Teddy Wilson, and drummer Sid Catlett (sorry, no material from Coleman Hawkins' stint with the band). The remainder is given over to Carter's first substantial recordings with his orchestra, notably such self-penned master strokes as "Symphony in Riffs" and the title track. And while you're checking out the early instrumental genius of Ben Webster, Russell Procope, J.C. Higginbotham, and Chick Webb -- not to mention Carter himself -- get set to be bowled over by some of the most brilliant material of the swing era.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook