Benny Carter

In 1935, Benny Carter moved to Europe, where in London he was a staff arranger for the BBC dance orchestra (1936-1938); he also recorded in several European countries. Carter’s “Waltzing the Blues” was one of the very first jazz waltzes. He returned to the U.S. in 1938, led a classy but commercially unsuccessful big band (1939-1941), and then headed a sextet. In 1943, he relocated permanently to Los Angeles, appearing in the film Stormy Weather (as a trumpeter with Fats Waller) and getting lucrative work writing for the movie studios. He would lead a big band off and on during the next three years (among his sidemen were J.J. Johnson, Miles Davis, and Max Roach) before giving up on that effort. Carter wrote for the studios for over 50 years, but he continued recording as an altoist (and all-too-rare trumpeter) during the 1940s and ’50s, making a few tours with Jazz at the Philharmonic and participating on some of Norman Granz’s jam-session albums. By the mid-’60s, his writing chores led him to hardly playing alto at all, but he made a full “comeback” by the mid-’70s, and maintained a very busy playing and writing schedule even at his advanced age. Even after the rise of such stylists as Charlie Parker, Cannonball Adderley, Eric Dolphy, Ornette Coleman, and David Sanborn (in addition to their many followers), Benny Carter still ranks near the top of alto players. His concert and recording schedule remained active through the ’90s, slowing only at the end of the millenium. After eight amazing decades of writing and playing, Benny Carter passed away quietly on July 13, 2003 at a Los Angeles hospital. He was 95.

Website

Records:

  1. Benny CarterIn a mellow tone, Pablo
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