Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Audience With Betty Carter
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Listen to Samples
Ronald S. Cohen | Mammoth Lakes, California | 12/19/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Betty Carter is unlike any other vocalist, and thus don't think that this album is going to sound like Sarah Vaughan or Ella Fitzgerald, Carter's contemporaries.Carter's music is entirely different. For one, she often crafted medleys out of two or three songs; the segues are so seamless and well crafted they frequently give the listener goosebumps.For another, Carter seemed to really thrive on the live performance. This double album is all live, so there is a lot of crowd noise, but you must train your mind to not let it detract from the music, even if some fans make stupid noises at the most unfortunate moments. When you get into it, though, you begin to understand, because Betty Carter gets you so wrapped up in what she's doing that you are transfixed, and what she does is so incredible you will find yourself shaking your head and muttering "wow" under your breath.Not everyone likes Betty Carter's style, however, so listen to a couple of the tunes before you buy. Also, "Finally" is an equally great live recording, but costs less because its only one disc."
Witnesses to a Masterwork
Rick Cornell | Reno, Nv USA | 09/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This recording of three live performances of Betty Carter, John Hicks (p.), Kenny Washington (d.) and Curtis Lundy (b), recorded in March of 1979 at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, is thought by some to be the finest Betty Carter recording available. Maybe so, maybe not; but what cannot be argued is that Betty Carter was one of the finest jazz vocalists who ever lived, and that this album is a masterwork.
Listening to this reminded me of this: if you want to irritate a singer, put her in an ensemble with a group of instrumentalists, and then address the group as "the musicians and the singers."
You can say that about certain amateur singers, and probably some pros as well; but you could never say that about Betty Carter. She is the most instrumental-like singer ever. Listen to what she does in the stunning 25-minute "Sounds" ("Movin' On.") Throughout, she sounds like an alto sax. And she changes tempos and ideas as fast as Messers. Hicks, Washington and Lundy can throw them out there.
Or listen to how she turns the standards "I Could Write A Book" and "Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most" around, and sounds again like a horn. Or listen to how she almost mocks "The Trolley Song" with onomatopoetic sounds.
Two remarkable things about this album: first, although there are oodles of live recordings out there, this is the first one I can remember where the inisde liner consists of a panoramic, close-up photo of the audience, digging and grooving the artist. And isn't that what it's all about? Second, throughout this recording you hear the audience break into laughter. Sometimes, you can figure it's because Ms. Carter hits them with "sounds of surprise." But other times, it has to be because of something she's doing visually. This is a concert I wish I could have seen! Clearly, the people who were there were witnesses to a masterwork--as the expressions on their faces in the photograph make clear.
If you care at all about jazz, you should own this album. I will admit that sometimes Ms. Carter hits notes, and never quite bends them into the chords. But Schnabel hit a lot of wrong notes, too, and was still one of the greatest classical pianists who ever lived. The point is: Not only did Betty Carter take chances, she had fun doing it. About how many artists can you make both claims? RC"
Sheer freedom of spirit
Artist | Irvine, CA USA | 03/18/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love jazz and I love Betty Carter. Jazz is about the immediacy of the creative process. No other music allows so much personal freedom and no singer takes advantage of it like Betty Carter. Her improvisations are far-out, her phrasing almost unbelievably laid back. She soars, swoops and dances, creating bold strokes, often sounding like a sax or trumpet. Her voice isn't what most people think of as beautiful. She's not gonna sing you a pretty song. Go elsewhere for that. This is a jazz singer's singer, an original, a woman who does it HER way. Listen to learn about phrasing, note bending, scatting, and especially about courage, conviction and sheer freedom of spirit."