The Classic Years – Benny Carter – CDSGP0972
Benny Carter The Classic Years 2CD
- Sweet Georgia Brown
- I Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good
- All Of Me
- Jump Call
- Krazy Kapers
- I’m In The Mood For Swing
- The Fable Of A Fool
- Swingin’ At Maida Vale
- Pick Yourself Up
- I Cant Believe That You Are In Love With Me
- Waltzing The Blues
- Back Bay Boogie
- I’ve Got Two Lips
- Blue Interlude
- Prelude To A Kiss
- Dee Blues
- More Than You Know
- I Surrender Dear
- Once Upon A Time
- Cadillac Slim
- Swing It
- Riffa Marole
He was raised by a working class family in the San Juan Hill area – quite a rough neighbourhood, but his parents managed to push their children into music with Benny and his sisters receiving piano tuition from his mother, Sadie Bennett Carter. Benny also took each lesson on the c. melody saxophone from a whole bunch of local tutors.
Other musicians in the direct vicinity at the time were Bubber Miley, Freddy Johnson, Rudy Powell, Bobby Stark and Russell Procope. In 1923 the family moved to Harlem, which already was a flourishing jazz scene, and by the late 1920’s after switching to alto saxophone and occasionally other instruments Carter had achieved considerable fame as a musician and joined bands headed by the likes of Duke Ellington and Fletcher Henderson, all the while gaining variable experience.
In 1928 he joined Horace Henderson’s band, and when Horace decided to leave Benny took over as leader until the band folded. By this time Benny Carter had already become known as a musical perfectionist and total professional with his new arrangements of old tunes, new tunes and self penned material. Then, in the early 1930’s he became musical director of Mc Kinney’s Cotton Pickers and increased his interest in arranging and playing of the trumpet as well as the clarinet, tenor saxophone, trombone and piano.
1933 saw Benny form a new big band featuring the likes of Chuck Berry and Dicky Wells and appeared at a recording session with Spike Hughes, the British composer and bass player.
From 1935 Carter toured Europe for 3 years with Willie Lewis’s outfit, and on the influence of Leonard Feather was engaged by BBC’s dance orchestras with Henry Hall as staff arranger.
In 1938 Benny was aware of the commercial success of the ‘swing’ era back in the USA, recording with Lionel Hampton on RCA, and playing in the “Chocolate Dandies” alongside Roy Eldridge and Coleman Hawkins.
By 1942 Carter had another new big band and settled in California, working on film music and with other great musicians such as Stan Kenton, Nat King Cole and Sonny Dunham, but by 1947 the big band of Benny Carter & his orchestra basically folded, only reforming periodically for special recording dates or concerts.
The 1950’s saw Benny Carter touring with Jazz at the Philharmonic, and recording many sessions for the great jazz producer Norman Granz, and provided orchestral backing and arrangement for many vocalists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee and Mel Torme. Benny suffered a heart attack in 1956, which did not appear to slow him down. In fact his work in late fifties and early sixties allowed him to work and record some of the best recordings in the history of jazz, working with so many great musicians such as Count Basie, Ben Webster, Buck Clayton, Miles Davis, Oscar Peterson, Barney Kessell, Ray Brown and Buddy Rich.
The monumental recordings of Benny’s alto saxophone will always be what he is best remembered for, in the same tradition of Willie Smith or Johnny Hodges. His great arrangements and the longevity of his recording career makes Benny Carter one of the Kings of Jazz. Benny Carter eventually stopped playing in 1992 but went on to live to the ripe old age of 96, which is in itself a major feat for a jazz musician who had led a hectic but highly successful career.
Sleeve notes: -Keith C. Thomas[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][/vc_column][vc_column][/vc_column][vc_column][/vc_column][vc_column][/vc_column][/vc_row]