Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Betty Carter: I'm Yours, You're Mine

Thanksgiving, as I've already established, is my favorite holiday. Food, family, counting your blessings...it doesn't get much better.

That being said, as with most holidays, it can get overwhelming. So my pick for today is a song by Betty Carter, who is possibly the greatest jazz vocalist who ever existed (anyone want to fight me on this?) Betty Carter brought a whole new approach to jazz singing, and her voice was not just a melody-producing prop, but an integral instrument that filled out the rest of the band in surprising and inspirational ways. I'm Yours, You're Mine was released in 1996, two years before Betty Carter died, and the title song is my favorite of her entire career.

It is impossible to listen to this song without feeling the tension release from your jaw and your shoulders. Truly impossible. Unfortunately, I haven't figured out yet how to put music clips on this blog, or I would give you an example. You're just going to have to take my word for it. Go to iTunes or Rhapsody or wherever you buy music these days.

Download this song.

Then when the turkey is taking too long, the kids are getting cabin fever, or the dishes are piling up way too high, take 9 minutes and 41 seconds out of your day.

Step out of the kitchen.

Put on your headphones or turn up the stereo.

Listen to Betty Carter's long, low tones, and the only words in the song:

Gee but it's nice
To see you again
It's nice to see you
See you again
Then go back and embrace your family.


Info on Betty Carter:
Betty Carter Biography on Wikipedia
Betty Carter Fan Page
Verve Records' Betty Carter Page

4 comments:

K. M. Johnson said...

As long as you can admit that Louis Armstrong is the greatest jazz musician/singer/performer, I'll allow you to claim Betty Carter as the greatest female. Though, Ella and Billie Holiday fans would have fair arguments to the contrary.

Josephine Cameron said...

All amazing musicians in their own ways, and I adore their singing & music. I think Betty Carter in a technical sense experimented with the sounds and tones that her voice could make in ways that even Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday didn't come near. Though Ella had a sense for melody that was/is unparalleled. And nobody has soul like Billie Holiday. And Louis...well he's just devine.

john scarrott said...

You are onto something with "I'm yours , Youre mine" by Betty Carter.I bought this a few days ago and I cannot stop playing that title track.It's got something of Van Morrison in it (around St.Dominics Preview time).Listen to the Lion.That wordless scat singing but it's not frantic, it's possessed and trancelike.And so peaceful.And the group is right there with her for 10 minutes of magic music.I think there's not a lot in her repertoire like this but I hope to find some more.Cannot say how great I think it is...simply wonderful.
John Scarrott

Josephine Cameron said...

Hi John. I'm glad you picked up the album & like the song. You're right...it's all the controlled, open space that makes it so peaceful and calm, and yet somehow intense. I was completely blown away when I heard it...absolutely stunning. Van Morrison is an interesting comparision because he also uses a lot of space & openness in some of his singing. I don't know "Listen to the Lion," so I'm going to go find it & download it. Thanks for the comment!