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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Don Mather, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf, Glyn Pursglove

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Elegy in Blue

Nimbus Records NI 2702 



1. Did You Call Her Today? For Ben Webster
2. Ceora For Lee Morgan
3. Good Queen Bess For Johnny Hodges
4. Prelude to a Kiss  For Duke Ellington
5. Little Jazz  For Roy Eldridge
6. Blue Monk  For Thelonious Monk
7. Someday You’ll Be Sorry  For Louis Armstrong
8. Nuages  For Django Reinhardt
9. Undecided  For Charlie Shavers
10. Elegy in Blue
Benny Carter – Alto sax
Harry "Sweets" Edison – Trumpet
Cedar Walton – Piano
Mundell Lowe – Guitar
Ray Brown – Bass
Jeff Hamilton – Drums 
Original release 1994, this release 2008. 

Just a glance at the line-up tells any serious jazz fan that they are in for a treat. Benny and Sweets are (along with Ray Brown) some of the older musicians, but they are also among the best and the album demonstrates this throughout. What inspired choices Cedar Walton, Jeff Hamilton and Mundell Lowe were to complete the band: they all play their part to perfection. In these days, where a lot of the so-called jazz has no recognisable chord sequence or for that matter no time and swing, this record makes for most pleasurable listening. The music is always accessible and at the same time cleanly played.

The idea behind the choice of tunes is that with each track Benny should play a tribute to one of his illustrious contemporaries. According to the sleeve-notes, the guys had a great time in the studio and it shows in the music they produced. It all works well, because there is no attempt by any of the soloists to copy the style of the person to whom the tune is dedicated; instead in each case they interpret the tune in their own way. With a rhythm section like this one, the front-line men must have thought they were in heaven!  

If, like me, you are tired of trying to understand the complex concoctions presented by many contemporary musicians on the jazz scene today, have a day off, sit in a comfortable chair, relax and enjoy this record.

Don Mather




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