Benny Carter: I’m Yours, You’re Mine

Betty Carter is historically important, one of the singers who took Lady Day’s lead and took singing beyond the heights it had reached, who with Carmen created an elegant tradition of song interpretation. She is important for the future, a demanding bandleader who makes herself available to young players who would learn the art of jazz through the Jazz Ahead workshops she runs annually; the lucky among them become members of her band. But what’s really important, of course, is her effect on the listener: on this collection, as usual, she is intoxicating. Her interpretation of song is heavenly, an intertwining of lyrical and musical sense that seeks and usually finds a precarious balance on the edge of sentimentality. The title track, composed by Carter and bassist Curtis Lundy, is a beautifully realized example of voice and instruments supporting a common muse. Throughout, Andre Hayward on trombone and Mark Shim on tenor sax offer sympathetic support; pianist Xavier Davis works hand-in-glove with bassists Lundy and Matt Hughes, and drummer Gregory Hutchinson.