Search - Betty Carter :: Look What I Got

Look What I Got
Betty Carter
Look What I Got
Genres: Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #1

Betty Carter pressed the jazz singer's art to the limits, in the recasting of standard melodies, in her creative scat, and in the ability to blend her sound with different instruments. Her voice was a special instrument, w...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Betty Carter
Title: Look What I Got
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Polygram Records
Original Release Date: 6/13/1988
Re-Release Date: 10/25/1990
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Styles: Modern Postbebop, Vocal Jazz, Bebop, Vocal Pop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 042283566125, 042283566118, 042283566149

Betty Carter pressed the jazz singer's art to the limits, in the recasting of standard melodies, in her creative scat, and in the ability to blend her sound with different instruments. Her voice was a special instrument, with an airy flutelike quality in every register, and her singing could be playful or passionate. On this 1987 recording, Carter's voice is mixed right down amid the instruments and each song emerges as a collective creation, a sustained work with Carter at the helm, inspiring her associates. Tenor saxophonist Don Braden blends memorably with Carter on the ballads "The Man I Love" and "Make It Last," while the singer's gifts as a tutor and talent scout are confirmed here by the presence of two outstanding young pianists, Stephen Scott and Benny Green. --Stuart Broomer

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CD Reviews

Okay, you know why you're here...
thejazzcritic | Denver, CO United States | 10/12/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Nobody comes to this album by accident. This is Betty Carter's first album with Verve - having produced most of her own material under her Bet-Car label for the preceeding 20 years. I believe Verve helped get her the production she needed - this was and is an acclaimed album and deservedly so. Carter toured pretty heavily behind this album and one may easily credit this effort with reviving her flagging career and paving the way for later performances which I can't imagine being deprived of.

Why is that important? Time isn't on our side! The eighties brought a great deal of analysis to jazz, which was in many ways unhealthy for developing artists. This and other albums of the time seemed to counter much of the jazz criticism of the times: there will be many flavors of jazz, they seemed to say. Moreover, Look What I Got marked a treatment of standards which was influential on a conservative audience and a group of conservative young players. As Carter's own Jazz Ahead program sought to tutor the young as soon as five years after the debut of this album, it's easy to imagine her bringing them to focus on jazz as a shared event in much the same way she seems to bring the young group of players together on these sides.

To speak briefly about their contributions, their work is excellent whether on Carter's original compositions or on the highly innovative standards (an up-tempo Imagination which wrestles the traces of optimism from the song from the deadened and helpless version by Chet Baker, and an almost rhythmless The Man I Love and a Bossa version of The Good Life). Of the instrumental work on the album, Don Braden's tenor saxophone is worth singling out, as he manages several call-and-response sections with Carter which evokes many of the forms heard in the legeneary Coltrane-Hartman collaboration. While his solos are good too, his vocal fills are some of the best I've heard.

But the obvious triumph of the album is Carter's. She obviously finds her stride as an ensemble leader on this album, and her mentorship of the individual players was evident and on display on her tour dates. As far as the album structure goes, this is perhaps the best balance of up-tempo and ballad work Carter produced. The best cut of the album is Look What I Got, which is an original composition to rival the best standards. Perhaps you might see Look What I Got as one bookend to Carter's late career, with the middle consisting of such gems as Droppin' Things, the heartbreaking 30 Years. The other bookend could be September Song.

If you find yourself inclined toward Ms. Carter's voice and her ability to convey the heart of a song without even the use of words, you will find much to enjoy in this essential recording. Enjoy it."
Her creativity is outstanding...
All That Jazz | 11/02/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"One of the most creative singers to have kept jazz singing alive in the 80's, & 90's. She always took adventurous scat solos, always improvising and taking chances on the same level as Anita O'Day or Mel Torme. Carter's unique vocal phrasing and playfulness just grew greater as the yaers went by. Although one should start with maybe "I Can't Help It" (a single CD on the GRP label that re-issues her 1st two sessions from the 50's). This set belongs in any Cater fans collection, and anyone who appreciates risk taking and adventurous jazz singing is advised to pick this one up."
From the very first note I heard Betty sing, I was in love! | Chapel Hill | 04/16/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Betty Carter never fails to captivate me. This album is yet another showcase for her amazing ability and versatility. From the adventurous "All I Got" to the reflective title track, Carter sparkles, proving why she is the greatest of all jazz singers. She is remembered and missed."