Beginning in the 1990s, the complete recordings of composer, arranger, multi-instrumentalist, and bandleader Benny Carter were revisited in chronologic detail by two leading historic reissue labels: Classics and Masters of Jazz. While Classics (apparently committed to documenting his entire recording career) focused largely but not exclusively upon recordings originally issued under Carter's name, Masters of Jazz set out to comb through the recorded evidence to magnify his adventures as both leader and sideman during his first decade of professional activity. Volume 1 in this intricately laid out series contains recordings made between January 1928 and February 1931, opening with "Charleston Is the Best Dance After All" as performed by Charlie Johnson's Paradise Ten. The Carter chronology finds him hopping from band to band, alternating between the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra and two ensembles led or dominated by Don Redman: McKinney's Cotton Pickers and the Chocolate Dandies. Carter usually played alto sax; he is also heard on clarinet and trumpet, and may be heard singing the lead on "Come On Baby," harmonizing with J.C. Higginbotham and Redman on Fats Waller's "Six or Seven Times," and singing solo on "Goodbye Blues." The other featured vocalist on this disc is Don Redman. If you want to savor the sound of Carter's arrangements, go directly to tracks two, three, ten, fifteen, seventeen and twenty.
AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf
feat: Charlie Johnson