A treasure trove of early work by Betty Carter – key early sessions from the 50s, all packaged together on one CD! The bulk of the collection – the "Ray Bryant" and "Gigi Gryce" components – features Carter's work for Epic
in the mid 50s, sides recorded for the album Meet Betty Carter & Ray Bryant, plus other rare ones that were later collected on the Social Call album! The set features some sublime tunes arranged by Gigi Gryce – with a floating jazzy style that works perfectly with Betty's incredible voice – plus others with backings by Ray Bryant's combo, and a few more that feature Ray's group playing without Betty's vocals. Betty's voice is already fantastic – even at this early point in her career – with an amazing range of expression, and a jazz-based approach that's different from most of her generation. Titles include "Social Call", "Thou Swell", "Frenesi", "Run Away", "Tell Him I Said Hello", "Can't We Be Friends", "Sneaking Around", and "Let's Fall In Love". Added to these is material from the album The Modern Sound Of Betty Carter – a 1960 session recorded with large group arrangements by Richard Wess, and a nicely swinging, easily jazzy feel! The album is one of Carter's more obscure sessions, and it's one of the few from the old days to really capture her jazzy vocals well in a large group setting. As always, Betty handles the material with a great deal of class, and an incredible sense of poise and emotion. The set list is nice, too, and includes many lesser-known tracks – like "For You", "Jazz (Ain't Nothin' But Soul)", "Don't Weep For the Lady", "My Reverie", and "I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire".
(Out of print.)