Benny Carter (1907-2003) was one of the great ambassadors of jazz, as well as one of its consistently fine sax players.
On these two albums, collected on one disc, he`s at his best - when wasn`t he? - with a mouth-watering, ear-pleasing, heartwarming roster of fellow musicians, including Phil Woods, Coleman Hawkins and Charlie Rouse (moonlighting from his usual gig with Thelonious), and Jo Jones on drums, bassist Jimmy Garrison, John Collins playing some tasty guitar, pianist Dick Katz, with Barney Kessel, Mundell Lowe, Bud Shank, Buddy Collette, Ray Brown and Alvin Stoller accompanying on the later tracks.
What you get is 71 minutes of terrific jazz. Benny Carter`s name is synonymous with class, and these tracks ooze just that on a mix of uptempo and slower numbers, such as opener Honeysuckle Rose, a marvellous reading of the Carter original We Were in Love, a lovely version of The Midnight Sun Will Never Set, the inevitable Body and Soul, and twelve other tracks, all superb, in fine sound.
In Cook & Morton`s peerless and generally reliable Penguin CD Guide, they honour this release as one of their `Core Collection` of discs every jazz fan should have.
I couldn`t agree more.
Carter was a great musician, who invariably failed to let you down - and who had the good sense to play on an early album by the wonderful Maria Muldaur. No wonder I love the guy.
This is pretty well self-recommending. It`s as good as it sounds - and it sounds just great!