Blue Engine Records has here released some of the earliest material ever recorded by Jazz at Lincoln Center–jazz trailblazer and vocalist Betty Carter’s The Music Never Stops. This live performance at New York’s Aaron Davis Hall was recorded in 1992, six years before Carter’s untimely passing and during the early days of Jazz at Lincoln Center. The Music Never Stops marks Carter’s first posthumous album as well as the artist’s first release composed entirely of previously unheard material in 22 years (the last being “I’m Yours, You’re Mine” in 1997).
The orchestra Carter enlisted include such stalwarts as Robin Eubanks, Art Baron, Jerry Dodgion, Alex Foster, and Lew Soloff. Pianists John Hicks, Geri Allen, and Cyrus Chestnut; bassists Lisle Atkinson and Ariel Roland; and drummers Kenny Washington, Greg Hutchinson, and Clarence Pennfilled out the three swinging rhythm sections. Many of the participants were Carter’s former students, and all of the rhythm section players were members of her various trios.
Carter’s magnificent performance was a massive and ambitious undertaking. The Music Never Stops proved to be an apt title, as over the course of two hours it never did. She darted back and forth between the different ensembles, transitioning seamlessly and effortlessly between burning bebop and deeply felt ballads, wearing out the musicians with her stamina. The album highlights the legendary Carter’s many talents: mesmerizing balladry, exhilarating swing, impeccable lyricism, stunning improvisation, and her unparalleled ability to build both a narrative and a mood by spontaneously weaving jazz standards and her own genius material together.
|Brand||Blue Engine Records|
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