Monday, November 14, 2005

Benny Carter's trumpet playing

Normally when I think of the multi talented Benny Carter, I think of the great saxophonist who was just as creative in the 1990's as he was back when he started out in the 1920's. Other times I'll think of Benny Carter, the composer, who wrote such memorable songs as Only Trust Your Heart and When Lights Are Low. Then there's Benny Carter the arranger and bandleader. But rarely do I think about Benny Carter, the trumpet player! Truth is, while Benny will always be best known as an alto saxophonist, he doubled on trumpet for most of his career. I was reminded of this last week, when I picked up a copy of an album called "My Man Benny, My Man Phil" featuring Benny's band with special guest Phil Woods. Benny plays trumpet on a few of the tracks, and while he's wasn't a "great" trumpet player like he was a great saxophonist, what struck me was how MUCH he sounded on trumpet like he did on alto! From phrasing (which one would expect to be similar across instruments) to things like tone and vibrato, it's actually quite remarkable. Give it some thought the next time you hear a record featuring Benny's trumptet playing.


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