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Benny Carter/Bill Coleman/Henri Chaix: The Three C’s

Musical archeology is fascinating, especially if you dig what’s dug from long-forgotten archives. Thanks to Canadian label Sackville, three sessions that took place in Switzerland in the ’50s and ’60s shed some enjoyable light on world traveler Benny Carter, expatriate Bill Coleman and Swiss native Henri Chaix (pronounced “shecks”), a first-rate stride pianist who obviously idolized Fats Waller. Behold The Three C’s, nearly 73 minutes of nostalgic swing, divided evenly between the two Americans: Chaix’s nine-piece band backing Carter’s alto sax and Chaix’s quintet supporting Coleman’s trumpet and vocals.

Notes are sparse and vignettes are few. Considering the material at hand, the album literally cries out for more historical background. Not surprisingly, Carter is the elegant standout in four originals and three standards, the highlight being “‘S Wonderful,” not only for Chaix’s paean to Fats with a wonderful solo, but the organic way an “arrangement” takes shape after Carter exchanges fours with (apparently) tenor Michel Pilet. Coleman flexes his chops (muted trumpet and vocal) most effectively on “Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams” and “I’ve Found a New Baby.”

Originally Published