sábado, 28 de febrero de 2009

Meet Betty Carter and Ray Bryant (1956)

This CD reissues a brilliant 1956 LP of the same title that served as the debuts of both Betty Carter and Ray Bryant as leaders, Bryant acting as accompanist to Carter as well as leading a trio with bassist Wendell Marshall and drummer Philly Joe Jones. Later, Carter would move toward a more avant-garde approach. Here, while far from unconventional, Carter uses her unique gifts to make a set of familiar songs her own. Even at this stage in her career she was an unusually complete singer, using her wide range and nuanced diction effectively, whether for huskily intimate ballads or soaring, inventive scat. Carter’s transformative reinterpretations of six standards result in versions that some will be tempted to consider definitive. Her fluency is mirrored perfectly by Bryant, a pianist whose stylistic palette could comfortably span swing, funk, and bop, investing everything he touched with a special rhythmic spark. Moving into the spotlight on the trio tracks, Bryant and company play with engaging swing and finesse. There is also a very good flutist, possibly Jerome Richardson, on a couple of the tracks with Carter. The CD also includes additional tracks by the Bryant trio and four stunning performances by Carter with a big band arranged and led by Gigi Gryce, among them intensely swinging versions of Gryce's ‘Social Call’ and ‘Frenesi.’ I added a bonus track at the end, a 1952 duet with King Pleasure called ‘My Little Red Top.’ Betty Carter is one of my favourite jazz singers and this is one of her albums I like the most. I hope you enjoy it.

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