Personalities | Benny Carter | Thirties | Jazz & Blues

(Alto saxophone, arranger, trumpet, vocals, 1907–2003)

One of the great arrangers and soloists in jazz history, Bennett Lester Carter wrote some of the first big-band music to fully realize the flowing, legato ensemble of the coming swing movement. His saxophone ensembles were smooth projections of his solo style. ‘Lonesome Nights’ and ‘Symphony In Riffs’ were so advanced when Carter recorded them in 1933 that they still sounded at home in the late 1930s and early 1940s when Artie Shaw, Tommy Dorsey, Gene Krupa and Cab Calloway recorded their versions.

Carter worked in Europe during 1935–38 and returned to lead a series of excellent bands. He had a rich, poised alto sound that complemented the relaxed elegance of his phrasing, as illustrated in his 1937 versions of ‘Crazy Rhythm’ with Coleman Hawkins. After settling in California in 1942, Carter prospered in film and worked to integrate musicians in Hollywood. He continued to record and perform at a high level into his 90s.

Styles & Forms | Thirties | Jazz & Blues
Personalities | Doc Cheatham | Thirties | Jazz & Blues

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel


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