Arts Desk

One Track Mind: Chad Carter, Let Me Love You

Standout Track: No. 14, “Movin’ On,” the cheeriest breakup song you’ve ever heard. After a deceptively slow intro, with lyrics about lovers becoming estranged, trumpets charge the song into gleeful big-band swing. “There’s so many brighter days for me/Oh, this I can’t deny,” the velvet-voiced Carter sings brightly. After a merry solo by trombonist Art Baron, Carter adds, “So I’m gonna keep on singing all these wonderful songs/As I stroll on through this life, I’m movin’ on!”

Musical Motivation: “Movin’ On” is the album’s only original tune. Though it wasn’t about any one relationship, Carter acknowledges a few whose happy ending came when he called it quits. “Sometimes you get really caught up and can lose yourself; you’re headed down the wrong road,” he says. “Sometimes the best thing you can do is take a step back and just move on.” The tune’s kiss-off element is part of the point, Carter says: “You know, those times where it’s lopsided, and you have one person giving, giving, giving. If it doesn’t pan out, you just have to say ‘Hey, look—I’ve gotta do something for myself here now.’”

Lena On Me: Carter first wrote “Movin’ On” with hopes that Lena Horne, a hero from childhood, might one day record it; it never came to pass. (Horne retired from performance in 2000 and died in 2010.) But he came close when he met Frank Owens, who spent several years as Horne’s musical director and pianist. “He did arrangements and played on several of my favorite tracks from Lena,” Carter says. “I mentioned to him that this was written for her and we talked about getting it to her.” Instead, Carter recorded it himself—with an arrangement, and piano accompaniment, by none other than Frank Owens. “Trips me out every time I think about it.”

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