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Benny Carter: Wonderland

Saxophonist Benny Green’s admiring notes scarcely conceal regret at the changes time wrought on Benny Carter’s fluent style-“a tendency to tongue more notes instead of playing extended legato passages, and a penchant for crotchet-triplets which had a way of breaking up the old suave flow.” What, in other words, was a gain for one part of the audience was a grievous loss for another. Here, nevertheless, are rewards for both.

Besides “Misty” and “Three Little Words,” there are five of Carter’s own numbers. He is joined by Sweets Edison and Lockjaw Davis on three of these to good effect. The rhythm section throughout consists of Ray Bryant, Milt Hinton, and Grady Tate. One wonders whether the melancholy “Johnny” was written in memory of Johnny Hodges, at one time Carter’s only real rival, but this goes unmentioned in the notes.

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