Benny Carter: Angel Eyes
Benny Carter (alto sax)
Cosmopolite (Verve 314 521 673-2)
Composed by Matt Dennis & Earl K. Brent.
Recorded: New York, September 14, 1954
Rating: 91/100 (learn more)
Back in 1954, Benny Carter was on the same label as another altoist you might have heard of: Charlie Parker. If Carter himself had ever heard Mr. Parker, he does a good job of disguising the fact on his recordings from the period. On this evocative rendition of "Angel Eyes," Carter's warm, big alto tone presents a stark contrast with Bird's biting sound, and his solo conception is not linked to any progressive ideology. In fact, the strong point of this track is Carter's interpretation of Matt Dennis's original melody. He extracts every last bit of loneliness and melancholy from this oft-played song, and after he has finished stating it no extended improvisation is really necessary. And, yes, Oscar Peterson is hidden away in the dark recesses of this track, but he plays so few notes you might think Norman Granz had imposed a quota.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia