1. Happy Feet (At the Savoy)
2. Wonderland (Isle of Love)
3. People Time (Forever Mine)
4. Doozy Blues
5. Sunday Morning Comes
6. Scattin 'Back to Harlem
7. Again and Again (I Try to Pretend)
8. Anniversary Dance
9. Johnny True
10. Sail Away with Me
11. An Elegy in Blue
12. Sky Dance for Two
13. Souvenir of You
Deborah Pearl - Vocals
Lou Forestieri - Piano, keyboards
Chris Colangelo - Bass (tracks 3, 6, 7, 9-13)
Kenny Wild - Bass (tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 8)
Dave Karasony - Drums (tracks 3, 6, 7, 9-13)
Jimmy Branly - Drums (tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 8)
Benny Carter & his Big Band (tracks 1,8)
Benny Carter is best known as an alto-sax player, although he was also a fine trumpeter, arranger and composer. This album pays tribute to Carter's talents as a composer by setting lyrics to some of his tunes. Deborah Pearl, who was a close friend of Benny and his wife Hilma, hopes that this exercise will make people more aware of Carter's compositions.
Deborah Pearl already had experience as a writer - for the stage, screen and television. Unfortunately, Deborah's lyrics are seldom profound or striking. Certainly they seldom come up to the standard of Benny Carter's music. Even if the lyrics were more worth hearing, listeners might be unable to enjoy them, since Deborah's enunciation is not especially clear and her voice is often submerged by the backing trio.
Benny Carter wrote some fine melodies - notably When Lights Are Low and Lonesome Nights - but few of the tunes on this disc stick in one's memory. The addition of lyrics to fast numbers creates the effect of vocalese in the style of Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, and a piece like Doozy Blues virtually becomes a patter song. The slower tunes - like Wonderland - work better, although the addition of lyrics adds little to their appeal (the words for this tune include: "Silly grin the master plan/I am love's most happy fan/Everything is so damn grand").
Deborah Pearl is doubtless sincere in her tribute to Carter the composer - and two of the tracks blend her voice with recordings of his orchestra from the 1992 album Harlem Renaissance - but the result is disappointingly unconvincing.