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in my headphones: the audience with betty carter // 03

in my headphones: the audience with betty carter // 03

The Audience With Betty Carter sat on my hard drive for an embarrassingly long time before I got into it. I acquired around the age of 16 after I read about how ground breaking and influential of a singer Betty Carter was. The album opens with a fast, dense, largely improvised, 25 minute piece called Sounds (Movin’ On) which you can listen to part of below. For the longest time I was so intimidated by this track that I never got past the first few minutes. The truth is I’m still intimidated by this track and had it not been for a bizarre twist of fate I never would have listened to the rest of the album.

I like to burn CDs for my (very old) car and when I finally decided to buckle down and dive into this album it was too big to fit on one CD since it’s a two disc set. I decided to burn only the second disc and try digging into that. This is probably sacrilege but I stand by my choices.

The Audience With Betty Carter is now one of my desert island albums. I love her unusual arrangements on I Could Write A Book and Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most (which is four times as slow as it is usually played), I love her unconventionally song writing style on Deep Night, Fake, and Tight (which is the swingin’est thing ever), I love love love the preamble and the lyrics to So…, and I love how burning fast My Favourite Things is.

It’s a really unparalleled work and I’m so happy I finally got into it, even if it did take me eight years!

This has been in my headphones // 03, a blog feature where I talk about albums that have influenced me or are currently influencing me. You can also check out the last post in this series, in my headphones: patty waters – you thrill me // 02.

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Renée is a queer, non-binary, disabled, and chronically ill creator based in Montreal. They are a singer, songwriter, pianist, YouTuber, and Periscoper. They are currently a student of jazz studies at Mcgill University and a freelance vocal coach for young and emerging singers.

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