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.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Jazzed Media | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Speechless CD/LP/Track Review Speechless
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Holiday On Fire CD/LP/Track Review Holiday On Fire
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Calvins Toboggan CD/LP/Track Review Calvins Toboggan
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Silent Light CD/LP/Track Review Silent Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 27, 2017
Read PausaLive CD/LP/Track Review PausaLive
by Patrick Keyes
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Adam's Apple CD/LP/Track Review Adam's Apple
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 26, 2017
Read "For King & Country" CD/LP/Track Review For King & Country
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 6, 2016
Read "Noumenon" CD/LP/Track Review Noumenon
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 26, 2016
Read "I Go Back Home: A Story About Hoping And Dreaming" CD/LP/Track Review I Go Back Home: A Story About Hoping And Dreaming
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 21, 2016
Read "Come Together" CD/LP/Track Review Come Together
by James Nadal
Published: May 27, 2016
Read "Evolution - Seeds and Streams" CD/LP/Track Review Evolution - Seeds and Streams
by Phil Barnes
Published: December 19, 2016
Read "Currents 0" CD/LP/Track Review Currents 0
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 18, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!