Monday, November 1, 2010

Benny Carter on trumpet

There's a distinct appeal to multi-instrumentalists, and jazz has plenty of them. Two who have had an impact on me personally are Tom Baker and Ade Monsbourgh.

Perhaps they were inspired in part by Benny Carter. Here is one of his early recordings on trumpet, away from his more regular alto sax. He plays with a solid technique and a clear sense that he is approaching the trumpet like a trumpet, not like an alto sax.

There are arguments against playing many instruments. For instance, the old cliche 'Jack of all trades, master of none' rings true all-too-often. Also, you have less time to devote to each of your instruments. Finally, there is the tendency for it be seen as showing off, which it may be!

Benny Carter transcends all argument and instead focuses on playing, not alto sax, trumpet or clarinet, but music. He is aided by other stars such as Chu Berry and Teddy Wilson.


Anonymous said...

Hi Michael,On this one I think it may be Max Kaminsky on solo trumpet and not Benny,simply because what else was Max Kaminsky there for.I dont think Benny would have hired a white guy like him for some minor role in the recording-I can't hear a second trumpet in the background but I think I can here Bennys alto.Anyway-I think its a wonderful recording,with Chu Berry sounding more like Coleman Hawkins than Coleman Hawkins did!I think this is Bennys best composition-better than "when lights are low"

rhythmoftheday said...

A sound theory, but I believe Benny is the trumpet man here. Compare this to other recordings of his on trumpet - the tone, vibrato and approach are far more consistent with Benny than Max. Plus, I don't think Max would have been accorded such a great feature tune so early in his career. You can hear him come in too early on I Never Knew (from the same group) though!

I agree that this is one of Carter's finest compositions!

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