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Deborah Pearl: Souvenir of You

- CD Reviews

Deborah Pearl: Souvenir of You
2011 Scattin’ Back Productions

Produced and Arranged by Deborah Pearl and Lou Forestieri

Deborah Pearl on Vocals
Lou Forestieri on Piano and Keyboards
Chris Colangelo, Kenny Wild on Acoustic Bass
Dave Karasony, Jimmy Branly on Drums
Benny Carter on Alto Sax
(Featuring Benny Carter and his Big Band)
(From Benny Carter Harlem Renaissance on MusicMasters Jazz)


Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
July 23, 2014

All compositions by Benny Carter, and all lyrics by Deborah Pearl.

This CD is a tribute to the late Benny Carter (1907-2003), a multi-talented musician (alto saxophone, clarinet, trumpet), bandleader, composer, and musical arranger. Benny Carter’s wife, Hilma Carter, was a close friend of Deborah Pearl, who later became a close friend of Benny Carter as well. Benny Carter died in 2003 at 95, after receiving a Lifetime Achievement Grammy and the National Medal of the Arts from President Clinton. Ms. Pearl has created vocal lyrics to 13 of Benny Carter’s composed instrumentals for this lovely recording. On two tracks, featured below, instrumental clips of Benny Carter and his Big Band are musically blended through recordings from “Benny Carter Harlem Renaissance” on MusicMasters. Exploring and listening to this unique CD is an education and a true pleasure.

Notable tracks:

#1 –Happy Feet (At the Savoy) This was a very fascinating track, opening with Benny Carter and his Big Band, all strings, percussion, and later an extensive, resounding alto sax solo. You can hear applause and accolades throughout, evocative of the Big Band years, with the recorded clips from Carter’s live recordings. Ms. Pearl’s vocals are authentic to the era, with a contemporary style, upbeat, reverent, very melodic, and effervescent. The rhythms of Benny Carter’s Big Band were punctuated with swing and retro ballroom.

#3 –People Time (Forever Mine) – This romantic, melancholy track features Ms. Pearl on deep vocals and Lou Forestieri on piano, with accompanying bass. Ms. Pearl’s new lyrics speak of dreams, memories, and reminiscing in heaven. It’s a soft, melancholy song.

#4–Doozy Blues – This swinging tune, sung in smooth, sassy style, features piano, bass, and very vibrant drums. Lyrics are blunt, like “I can’t hear ya, can’t get through, Are you gonna be mine or not?”. Ms. Pearl sings lyrics in retro saucy, finger-wagging boldness. Mr. Forestieri’s piano has danceable, buoyant tempos, and drum and bass riffs are generous.

#8 –Anniversary Dance –Mr. Forestieri’s piano and Ms. Pearl’s vocals introduce the first third or more of this track, before Benny Carter’s solo alto sax introduces his Big Band, with expansive strings and full fusion of orchestral harmonies. Ms. Pearl continues her vocals, after fusing with piano, then fusing with the orchestral recordings, followed by Benny Carter’s audience applause.

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at