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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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BENNY CARTER

Further Definitions

American Jazz Classics 99042

 

 

Further Definitions
1. Honeysuckle Rose
2. The Midnight Sun Will Never Set
3. Crazy Rhythm
4. Blue Star
5. Cotton Tail
6. Body and Soul
7. Cherry
8. Doozy
 
Benny Carter, Phil Woods - Alto saxes
Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Rouse - Tenor saxes
Dick Katz - Piano
John Collins - Guitar
Jimmy Garrison - Bass
Jo Jones - Drums
 
Jazz Giant
9. Old Fashioned Love
10. I'm Coming, Virginia
11. A Walkin' Thing
12. Blue Lou
13. Ain't She Sweet?
14. How Can You Lose?
15. Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives to Me

Benny Carter - Alto sax, trumpet
Frank Rosolino - Trombone
Ben Webster - Tenor sax
Andr‚ Previn, Jimmy Rowles - Piano
Barney Kessel - Guitar
Leroy Vinnegar - Bass
Shelly Manne - Drums
 

This CD includes the contents of two LPs: Further Definitions from 1961 and Jazz Giant from 1958. I have already reviewed the latter in another reissue, although that CD contained two extra tracks. So I only need to review Further Definitions, which has generally been regarded as Benny Carter's finest album.

It proved successful for several reasons: the arrangements were excellent, they were played beautifully, and every solo was concise and worthwhile. Some of the tunes are old standards but Benny Carter's arrangements make them all sound fresh. He used the perhaps unusual line-up of four saxophones plus a rhythm section, but this made the most of his impeccable arranging for saxes. The ensemble passages for these instruments are superb, and some interesting contrasts are obtained by setting modernist Phil Woods alongside the mainstream Benny Carter, and the smooth Coleman Hawkins beside the more edgy Charlie Rouse.

Even the hackneyed Honeysuckle Rose is polished up with enterprising ensembles and contrasting solos between the four saxists, each of whom has a distinctive style. The Midnight Sun Will Never Set has a beautiful blend of saxophones - and intricate solos from Coleman Hawkins and Benny Carter. Hawkins leads off Crazy Rhythm with a swirling, almost demented solo.

Blue Star is a gorgeous ballad written by Benny Carter, with Hawkins stating the theme authoritatively and a middle eight where the saxes blend in sweet harmony. Coleman Hawkins shines again in Cotton Tail. Body and Soul is a number forever associated with Hawkins, and Benny Carter arranges the tune with a nod to Hawk's classic version. Hawkins' solo differs from its former glory but it is still glorious. Cherry swings buoyantly, and Benny Carter's Doozy is bluesy.

This album recalled a 1937 session in Paris where Carter and Hawkins played together with the same line-up of instruments as on this disc. But this album stands on its own as one of Benny Carter's great achievements.

Tony Augarde
www.augardebooks.co.uk



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