Benny Carter: Central City Sketches


Central City Sketches


Benny Carter and the American Jazz Orchestra


Central City Sketches (MusicMasters 5030)

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Benny Carter (alto sax, trumpet), John Lewis (musical director), John Eckert (trumpet), Virgil Jones (trumpet), Bob Millikan (trumpet), Marvin Stamm (trumpet), Eddie Bert (trombone), Jack Jeffers (trombone), Jimmy Knepper (trombone), Britt Woodman (trombone), Bill Easley (alto sax, flute), Loren Schoenberg (tenor sax), John Purcell (alto sax, flute), Lew Tabackin (tenor sax, flute), Danny Bank (baritone sax, bass clarinet), Dick Katz (piano), Remo Palmieri (guitar), Ron Carter (bass), Mel Lewis (drums).

Composed and arranged by Benny Carter


Recorded: New York, 1987


Rating: 94/100 (learn more)

Benny Carter was six months shy of his 80th birthday when he debuted this extended composition at a "standing room only" concert at the Great Hall of Cooper Union. After a quarter of a century devoted primarily to work for movies and television, Carter could easily have been forgotten by the jazz world. Life ain't fair? Well, for once life did the right thing. Carter was given a major platform and he produced a major work -- an extended composition in six movements of Ellingtonian proportions. And like the Duke, Carter made no attempt to update his sound or jump on the latest bandwagon. The composer may be revisiting the harmonic and stylistic palette of the Swing Era, but nothing here sounds out-of-date. Carter's swinging lines and memorable melodies were captivating in 1937 and 1987 . . . and will still be charming listeners 50 years hence. Kudos as well to the all-too-short-lived American Jazz Orchestra for a winning performance.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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