Monday, June 13, 2005

Benny briefly

The CD reissue of 1960's "Sax a la Carter!" holds a collection of up-tempo numbers that drip swing like I drip sweat on one of these lovely East Central Illinois June days with a 90 degree temperature and 90 percent humidity, and ballads that make me long for every love I've lost, even the bad ones, and my dead doggy, too.

All this on tunes none of which tops four minutes. Folks, that's genius, which Benny Carter assuredly was. Doesn't hurt that the quartet for the session includes Jimmy Rowles, Billie Holiday's favorite pianist, Mr. Walking Bass himself Leroy Vinnegar and on drums Mel Lewis, he of stellar big band with Thad Jones. An interesting song selection as well, mostly stuff Carter never recorded elsewhere, according to the liner notes, like the movie tune "Moon of Manakoora" and "Friendly Islands," a song Hawaiian Airlines used as its theme. This one goes to the desert island with me, Hawaii or otherwise.

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