Benny Carter Biography (BBC)
One of the most versatile and long-lived figures in jazz, Carter was one of the finest alto saxophonists of the swing era, but he was also a first-rate trumpeter, and made convincing discs on several other instruments including tenor sax, clarinet and piano.
As an arranger, his work spanned all styles from swing to jazz rock. He wrote pioneering big band charts for Charlie Johnson in 1928, arranged for Fletcher Henderson's great swing orchestra in the late 1920s and early 1930s, as well as McKinney's Cotton Pickers. Later he wrote for his own orchestras, as well as composing Count Basie's acclaimed Kansas City Suite, and scoring rock-influenced albums for Sarah Vaughan. He wrote several jazz standards including the famous When Lights Are Low.
Carter was born in New York, and after working with several bands including Henderson's and McKinney's, formed his own first band in 1932. In the mid-1930s, he was based in Europe, working for the BBC as an arranger, and making numerous freelance recordings. On returning to the USA, he re-formed his band, which he led on and off until 1946, when he began to focus on a Hollywood studio career as a composer.
He occasionally re-formed his big band, but in the 1970s, after writing for many star singers and bandleaders, he began to perform again regularly, both as a soloist and leader. His busy arranging career continued, but although he went on winning Grammies for his writing, he ceased performing in the late 1990s. He was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Clinton in December 2000.
Benny Carter Biography (Wikipedia)
Bennett Lester Carter (August 8, 1907 – July 12, 2003) was an American jazz alto saxophonist, clarinetist, trumpeter, composer, arranger, and bandleader. He was a major figure in jazz from the 1930s to the 1990s, and was recognized as such by other jazz musicians who called him King. Carter performed with major artists from several generations of jazz, and at major festivals, such as his 1958 appearance with Billie Holiday at the Monterey Jazz Festival.
The National Endowment for the Arts honored Benny Carter with its highest honor in jazz, the NEA Jazz Masters Award for 1986. He was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987, and both won a Grammy Award for his solo "Prelude to a Kiss" and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1994. In 2000 he was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts, National Medal of Arts, presented by President Bill Clinton.
Benny Carter Tracks