Bennett "Benny" Lester Carter
Born: August 8, 1907 - New York City
Died July 12, 2003 - Los Angeles, California


Principal Instruments:
Alto and Tenor Saxophone,
Also arranger, composer and conductor

One of the few jazz musicians alive today who can trace his musical beginnings back to the earliest days of jazz history is Benny Carter. He has led an incredibly rich musical life for a self-taught musician. He has mastered many instruments, probably written more songs and arrangements than another other jazz musician. Benny Carter is indeed a jazz giant.

Carter spent his first professional years working for Duke Ellington and Fletcher Henderson, leaders of the two best jazz bands in New York City. By 1933, when he was leading his own group, he was well respected as an accomplished arranger and musician. During the mid-1930s, Carter spent time in Europe performing with the best European jazz musicians and American musicians living overseas. The mid-1940s found Carter working and living in Hollywood, writing and arranging scores for motion pictures and sometimes appearing in them. The next decade found him doing the same thing for American television.

Despite the time working for the entertainment industry, Benny Carter is acknowledged as a master of the jazz alto saxophone. He is also an accomplished trumpeter, though he rarely plays the instrument. Now in his eighth decade as a musician, he is a much loved jazz legend. His classic big band arrangements continue to be used. His recordings could fill dozens of pages and the list of musicians with whom he has performed or influenced is much larger than this volume's jazz listings. The jazz world has been blessed with such a talented and well-liked musician as Benny Carter.

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