101

Mel Martin / Benny Carter Quintet: Just Friends

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Mel Martin / Benny Carter Quintet: Just Friends Saxophonist Mel Martin, the lesser known half of this clever musical equation, first met the legendary Benny Carter in 1987 and played alongside him for the first time three years later. This quintet date, recorded live at Yoshi's nightclub in Oakland in April 1994, as Carter was nearing his eighty-seventh birthday, shows why he was able to span so easily the eras from swing to bop and beyond and assimilate their changes. His perspective was firmly rooted in the tradition even as he espoused fresh ideas and made them a part of his singularly wide-ranging style.

Carter and Martin remained close friends until Carter's passing in July 2003, less than a month before his ninety-sixth birthday, and their camaraderie is evident throughout this buoyant session, released to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of Carter's birth. As Martin says in Ed Berger's discerning liner notes, "I never had more fun on a bandstand with anybody. He's clearly having a good time here, as are Carter and the perceptive rhythm section—pianist Roger Kellaway (a splendid soloist in his own right), bassist Jeff Chambers and drummer Harold Jones.

Carter's glossy alto sax glistens on every number save his own "People Time, on which Martin's flute and Kellaway's piano are paired in a charming duet. Martin plays tenor the rest of the way, starting with a playful cruise through Juan Tizol's venerable "Perdido. Martin wrote "Spritely, Carter "Elegy in Blue to enhance the album's standards "Secret Love and "Just Friends, the last of which crowns the concert while giving Jones a chance to solo.

Even though Carter is the ace in the hole, his colleagues hold strong suits as well and play them with awareness and finesse. When the cards have been dealt it's a winning hand, one that readily trumps any misgivings with unwavering proficiency.


Track Listing: Perdido; People Time; Secret Love; Spritely; Elegy in Blue; Just Friends.

Personnel: Mel Martin: tenor sax, flute; Benny Carter: alto sax; Roger Kellaway: piano; Jeff Chambers: bass; Harold Jones: drums.

Title: Just Friends | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Jazzed Media


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Unification CD/LP/Track Review Unification
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Crossing CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Unit[e] CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "Tribute to Ndouga Dieng" CD/LP/Track Review Tribute to Ndouga Dieng
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 10, 2017
Read "This Is The Uplifting Part" CD/LP/Track Review This Is The Uplifting Part
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 22, 2017
Read "That's What She Said..." CD/LP/Track Review That's What She Said...
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: February 7, 2017
Read "Cantos Invisíveis" CD/LP/Track Review Cantos Invisíveis
by Troy Collins
Published: November 18, 2016
Read "Tales & Tones" CD/LP/Track Review Tales & Tones
by Geannine Reid
Published: January 21, 2017
Read "The Great Jazz Gig In The Sky" CD/LP/Track Review The Great Jazz Gig In The Sky
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 8, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.