From the Record Shelves #54

Once Upon a Time

LP EMI/Parlophone PMC 7038

This is a heavenly record, especially if you like saxophone and good arrangements. The key persons and masters in both departments are Don Redman and Benny Carter. Still I have chosen a number with a discreet arrangement where the trumpet is stealing the show.

We hear one of the best moments of band leader and multi instrumentalist Carter’s trumpet playing.

Between the opening trumpet chorus and the grand final there are also two ear catching contributions.

First, a full piano chorus by Teddy Wilson at the piano. Benny Carter that had managed to get a good big band on its feet by the time of this recording in 1933 had happened to hear Wilson playing when he was on tour with Fletcher Henderson a couple of years earlier. The twenty-year-old pianist was persuaded to come to New York to join the outfit. His rhythmically precise and inventive style (with influence from Earl Hines) is easily recognizable.

After the piano we hear a short but good tenor sax solo by Chu Berry and the drummer of the band is the great Sidney Catlett. The tune is composed by Carter himself.