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April 1998

Benny Carter
Songbook, Volume 2
MusicMasters

Here we have Carter the composer (and in most cases Carter the lyricist) sung by Joe Williams, Diana Krall, Ruth Brown, Billy Stritch, Nancy Marano, Jon Hendricks, Lainie Kazan, Marlena Shaw, Kenny Rankin, Barbara Lea, Weslia Whitfield and Carter himself. There's a wealth of melodic and lyric perfection in the writing, all the way from "Malibu," which Carter recorded as an instrumental in 1945, to several songs introduced on this album.

Carter, alto saxophone; Warren Vache, cornet; Chris Neville, piano; Steve LaSpina, bass; and Sherman Ferguson (spelled by Roy McCurdy on two tracks), drums, comprise the instrumental unit. Vache's romanticism (with an occasional edge) is a perfect match for Carter's curvaceous alto style. Check out their solos on "He Doesn't Need Me Now." (Marano does the vocal.)

The vocalists show great respect for the music, their art and craft reflecting the venerable Carter's expertise with pen, score paper and alto.

Originally published in April 1998
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