Frank Rosolino (tb), Benny Carter (as & tp), Ben Webster (ts), André Previn, Jimmy Rowles (p), Barney Kessel (g), Leroy Vinnegar (b), Shelly Manne (d)
Reference: FSRCD 2256
Bar code: 8427328622561
Benny Carter waswith Johnny Hodges and Charlie Parkerone of the three original and major alto saxophonists in jazz up until the late Fifties. He was undoubtedly, as the title of this album suggests, a Jazz Giant.
The music in these sessions is unpretentious; bright, relaxed and buoyant, with an infectious swing. Everyone gets a chance to blow and show their worth. Carter plays with his characteristic lyricism, technical facility, and beauty of sound on alto, andon two tracksflawlessly on trumpet, his first love. Also, much like Ben Websteranother gianthe demonstrates his extraordinary melodic imagination. Frank Rosolino shows his inventive individuality, Barney Kessel plays with his usual lithe phrasing, laconic wit and consummate ease, and the rhythm section is never less than superior.
The last two tracks came to life in a happily fortuitous way, thanks to the greatness of the talents involved. Benny Carter had been set for the session, but became ill at the last minute. With Barney taking over as leader, the sidemen decided to use their time for some congenial, informal blowing. The unforgettable results include some of the finest work ever recorded by Webster and Rosolino in particular.
"Benny Carter had already been a major jazz musician for nearly 30 years when he recorded this particularly strong septet session for Contemporary. With notable contributions from tenor saxophonist Ben Webster, trombonist Frank Rosolino and guitarist Barney Kessel, Carter (who plays a bit of trumpet on "How Can You Lose") is in superb form on a set of five standards and two of his originals. This timeless music is beyond the simple categories of "swing" or 'bop' and should just be called "Classic."
Scott Yanow -All Music Guide