Master Lessons is the title of a 20-track Benny Carter collection released by Bud Music in 2005. It demonstrates exactly how Carter, armed with more than 25 years of professional experience, adapted to the swiftly changing currents of popular taste and competitive streamlining in the musical entertainment industry during the early 1950s. Between August 18 and December 4, 1952, Carter recorded for the Victor and Verve labels in both Los Angeles and New York City. "You Belong to Me" is a dramatically staged alto sax ballad with backing by pianist Paul Smith and a large, lush studio orchestra. The next 12 titles find Carter working with one of producer Norman Granz's favorite rhythm sections: Oscar Peterson, Barney Kessel, Ray Brown, and Buddy Rich. On eight of these tracks, the quintet is surrounded by a string section. "Love Is Cynthia," "Sunday Afternoon," and "Georgia on my Mind" were Victor recordings cut on the East Coast with Benny Carter leading his own 16-piece orchestra. Tracks 17-20 originally appeared on a 10" LP entitled Cosmopolite. Here Carter is back with the Oscar Peterson trio, now graced with the subtler and more refined drumming of J.C. Heard. Altogether a pleasant glimpse into the sophisticated sounds of Benny Carter as recorded during the first four months of his 45th year on the planet.
AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf
feat: The Orchestra