From his starting musical life at the age of five, to traveling the world, writing many pieces, and juggling instruments from all sections of the ensembles(alto-sax, trumpet, piano, clarinet and trombone). To even making his own trademark in the music industry before his death. Carter was only one of the many famous Jazz Instrumentalists, but he tended to always look in to becoming greater. Benny Carter was born on August 8, 1907 in New York City. Yet spent most of his life growing up in Manhattan. As a child, his first musical instrument was the piano which he learned from his mother.
But his true inspiration came from listening to his cousin, Theodore Bennett, on trumpet. At the age of 1 3 he bought his own trumpet, but was soon saddened by the fact that it was to difficult to play. So, he traded the trumpet a week later for a alto sax, which after a good deal of practice and privet lesions from several teachers. Developed Into his strongest Instrument he would ever play. By the time he was 15, Carter was already sitting with the Harlem Bands. When he wasn’t with the bands he made a living by working as a side man in a number of New York Jazz Bands.
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At 19, he was discovered and received his first full time Job with the Charlie Johnson Band. Though he entered a recording studio for the first time with Charlie Johnny’s Orchestra In 1927, which Included two pieces In which Carter himself arranged. It was at this time that Carter perfected his trademark sound In many of his arrangements by harmonize four saxophones In many of his melodies. It was as if the four saxophones where one instrument improvising. As an arranger and musician he was able to join Fletcher Henderson band as their arranger, replacing Don Redden.
The charts that the Henderson band preformed where the most influential of the big band era. At the age of 24, Carter Joined Muckiness’s Cotton Pickers and, sold charts on the side to musicians such as Bennie Moment. Also In that time, Carter taught himself to play trumpet during the early thirties, and was recording solos with the instrument after only two years. But in 1932, Carter formed his first orchestra with a topnotch ensemble that included tenor saxophonist Chug Berry, pianist Teddy Wilson, drummer Side Cattle, and trombonist Dickey Wells.
In 1935, Carter traveled to Paris to play with the Willie Lewis Orchestra, and remained In Europe for the next three years, reforming with bands In England, France, and Scandinavia. And returned to the U. S. Playing the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem. And in that time he also appeared on recordings by Longtime, Goodman, Count Basis, Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorset, and Gene Koura. He only had one major hit in the big band era, “Cow-Cow Boogie,”, yet composed or arranged many of the pieces that became Swing Era classics. He visited Australia in 1960 with his own quartet and preformed at the Newport Jazz Festival with Dizzy Gillespie.
In 1962 he was nominated for a Grammar for his arrangement on he ray Charles arrangement called “Busted”. Carter returned to active performing in 1970 and was invited by Monroe Berger to lecture at Baldwin-Wallace College. He became a visiting professor at Princeton University in 1973 and received a Doctorate of Humanities from the institution in 1974. The following year, Carter traveled to the Middle East under the sponsorship of the United States State Department for a lecture and concert series. He was recorded in Monterey with Roy Eliding, Clark Terry, Coot Simms, Joe Pass and others in 1975.
Mr.. Carter was recorded live abroad numerous times into the sass’s. Carter was 78 years old when “A Gentleman and His Music,” was recorded for Concord in 1985 featuring an all out Jam with Scott Hamilton, Deed Bickers, Gene Harris, John Clayton, Joe Wilder and drummer Jimmie Smith on the cut “Things Anti What They Used To Be. ” Two years later, at 80, he reunited with old pal Dizzy Gillespie for the 1987 Music masters release called “I’m In the Mood for Swing. ” Carter received a Grammar Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987 from the National Academy of Recording Arts ND Sciences.
In 1988, his “Central City Sketches,” recorded with the American Jazz Orchestra in 1987, was nominated for a Grammar. In a 1989 critics’ poll conducted by Down Beat magazine, Carter placed first in the arranger’s category. In 1990, both Jazz Times and Down Beat magazines ranked Carter the Jazz artist of the year in their international critics’ polls. In 1994, he won a Grammar for “Elegy in Blue. ” In 1996, Carter was among five recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D. C. When Carter celebrated his 90th birthday in 1997, a concert tribute as held at the Hollywood Bowl.
Two recordings that showcase his sound most famously are sass’s “Honeysuckle Rose,” recorded with Dagon Reinhardt and Coleman Hawkins in Europe. It was an album considered to be a masterpiece and one of Jazz’s most influential recordings. Nicknamed “The King” by fellow musicians early in his career, Carter was beloved not only for his musical genius, but also for his reserved, dignified, and modest personality. He was known as a gracious, warm and witty man. Carter died on July 12, 2003, from bronchitis at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angels.