Benny Carter: I'm In The Mood For Swing


I'm in the Mood for Swing


Benny Carter (alto sax)


In the Mood for Swing (Music Masters 512375)

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Benny Carter (alto sax), Howard Alden (guitar), George Mraz (bass), Lewis Nash (drums).

Composed by Benny Carter


Recorded: New York City, Nov. 9 & 12, 1987


Rating: 94/100 (learn more)

With the exception of the 1976 Pablo release The King, it wasn't until Carter began recording for Music Masters in 1987 at the age of 80 that he was given the opportunity to produce any albums made up entirely of his own diverse and worthy compositions. These CDs included Central City Sketches, Songbook, and In the Mood for Swing. For the latter session, Carter unearthed an original he had not played since 1938, the swing era showpiece "I'm in the Mood for Swing."

Just a week after being named a recipient of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, Carter is in top form on this track, and so are his clearly inspired bandmates. The catchy syncopation of the theme and its bridge come into play only after the alto-guitar harmonizing of the opening rally cry riff. Carter's silky alto maintains a consistently gushing pulse for the full two choruses of his solo, during which he creates both concise phrases and more elaborate lines that are personalized by his innate logic, clarity, and lightheartedness. Alden solos lucidly in his usual multifaceted swing-to-bop style. Hanna's two-handed, technically adept improv contributes to the high quality level at play here, as does the unrestrained series of Mraz-Bellson exchanges that follow. Urbane, relaxed, and buoyant--such are the words that best describe, as always, this Carter performance.

Reviewer: Scott Albin

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