Giant Steps

Betty Carter

Betty Carter (1929-98) was arguably the most innovative jazz singer of the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s

In 1994, Ms. Carter recorded a live album, Feed The Fire, with pianist Geri Allen, bassist Dave Holland and drummer Jack DeJohnette, a trio of masterful veterans.

A year earlier at a jazz festival in Hamburg, Carter and the same musicians were captured performing an unusual version of John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps.”

Rather than interpret the standard at the usual racing pace, the singer takes much of “Giant Steps” very slow and out-of-tempo, putting lots of emotion into every note.

Eventually Allen and Holland have solos at a cooking tempo and Carter scats a bit before ending back at the original dreamy mood.

It is fascinating to watch.

Personnel:

Betty Carter, vocals
Geri Allen, piano
Dave Holland, bass
Jack DeJohnette, drums

– Scott Yanow