Benny Carter

Bennett Lester " Benny " Carter ( born August 8, 1907 in New York, USA, † 12 July 2003 in Los Angeles ) was a jazz musician ( saxophonist, trumpeter, bandleader, arranger and composer ).


Carter learned at his mother's piano playing and was otherwise on all other instruments autodidact. Influenced by his cousin Cuban Bennett began his career as a trumpet player in the band by June Clark, then went to Billy Paige, Lois Deppe and Earl Hines. 1925 and 1926, he worked with Horace Henderson; In 1928 he joined his brother Fletcher Henderson. After a spell at McKinney 's Cotton Pickers and a first attempt to own as a bandleader (1928 ) he was again in 1930 engaged in F. Henderson and then at Chick Webb ( 1931). In 1932 he founded his own orchestra again, which belonged, among others, Wilbur de Paris, Chu Berry, Teddy Wilson and Sid Catlett, and he was able to hold until 1934. He also wrote arrangements, such as Duke Ellington.

In 1935, Benny joined the orchestra of Willy Bryant on trumpet, as this went on a European tour. In England, he arranged for the BBC Dance Orchestra, in Paris, he worked at Willie Lewis. There he took 1937 for the label Swing with Coleman Hawkins and Django Reinhardt's Quintette du Hot Club de France. He was also the first American jazz musician who played in Spain. After another stay in the Netherlands and Scandinavia, he founded in early 1939 in New York a band that started in Harlem and the Savoy Ballroom belonged to, inter alia, Vic Dickenson, Eddie Heywood, Jonah Jones and Tyree Glenn. In May 1940, with "Sleep" he achieved a first - charts success; In 1944, he had with " Poinciana ( Song of the Tree ) " and his composition "Hurry, Hurry " two more hits.

The later Bebopper Dizzy Gillespie (1941 ), 1943, Max Roach, JJ Johnson, and Buddy Rich also played in his combo. However, a greater popularity with the public, comparable to bands Goodmans / Dorsey or James did not come.

Since the mid- 1940s, he worked in Hollywood films, including Stormy Weather (1943, he plays the trumpet ), The Snows of Kilimanjaro ( 1952) and wrote film scores (among the Gene Krupa Story and 1958 the television series M Squad ). For this reason, he moved to Los Angeles, where he composed during the day and at night occurred in clubs. In 1944 he initiated in the Swing Club in Hollywood a band and recorded for Capitol; Singer was Savannah Churchill. In 1951 he accompanied the singer Little Miss Cornshucks their recordings for Coral, 1955 Billie Holiday on her Verve album Music for Torching. In 1960, he turned back temporarily to the concert stage and visited Australia and with Jazz at the Philharmonic Europe. But he was also in the television business and wrote and arranged in the studios, including Count Basie. In 1961, he took with Coleman Hawkins for Impulse! Records his most famous album, Further Definitions, a kind of remake of the legendary Paris Session 1937 Hawk, Stéphane Grappelli, Alix Combelle and Django Reinhardt. In 1968 he played at the Newport Jazz Festival with Gillespie. From the 1970s he appeared again as a soloist, also devoted himself to jazz education and regularly gave workshops. Yet over the age of 90 gave Carter concerts ( for example, with Doug Lawrence ), including respectable saxophone solos and died a month before his 96th birthday.

His influence

On recordings Benny Carter can be heard as a pianist, as a trumpet player, trombone, clarinet and on almost all instruments of the saxophone family - but he has become famous on the alto saxophone. With Johnny Hodges, he has particularly contributed to the development of jazz stylistics on this instrument. He played fluently, in an elegant, often to the Double Time passing over swing style. He improvised with outstanding elegance, melodic diversity, full and beautiful tone.

Carter also played with Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown, Peggy Lee and Ella Fitzgerald. Some of his compositions are When Lights Are Low ( with Spencer Williams), Only Trust Your Heart, Key Largo, Blue Star, I'm Sorry, I Still Love Him So and The Marriage Blues. For Count Basie, he wrote in 1961, the Kansas City Suite.


He was awarded the National Medal of Arts of the United States as excellent as with the French Order of Arts and Letters. 1982 celebrated the New York radio station WKCR Carter's 75th birthday with a show in which his music was played 177 hours. 1987 Carter received a Grammy for Lifetime Achievement. His full-length composition " Central City Sketches ", which started in 1987, was created in 1988 nominated for a Grammy. He was honored by Downbeat in the International Kritikerpoll as an arranger in 1989. In 1990, the still active Carter both the Downbeat and the Jazz Times International was named Artist of the Year.

Disco printing specifications

  • The Chronological Benny Carter ( Classics, 1929-1941 )
  • All of Me ( RCA, 1934-59 )
  • Cosmopolite - The Oscar Peterson Sessions ( Verve, 1952-54 )
  • Jazz Giant (Contemporary Records, 1957) ( with Ben Webster, Jimmy Rowles )
  • The King, in 1976, Pablo ( with Milt Jackson, Tommy Flanagan, Joe Pass )
  • Benny Carter Four, Montreux '77, Fantasy 1977 ( with Ray Bryant (p ) Live from Montreux )
  • Live in Japan, 1977 Pablo
  • A Gentleman and his Music ( Concord, 1985)