Jazz is an international music and Benny Carter is one of its leading statesmen. Born In a district of New York known as Hell’s Kitchen on August 8, 1907 he has proved conclusively that talent, determination and hard work can be combined to achieve the highest eminences.
In Carter’s case it has led to total instrumental control, a mastery of the arranger’s craft, the will to form and lead successful orchestras and the ability to compose music for every occasion. Although he has played trumpet, trombone, clarinet, tenor and piano it is as an alto saxophonist that Benny has achieved his enviable reputation as an instrumentalist.
He has acted as an inspiration to hundreds of younger men, all of whom have been fascinated by the seemingly effortless way in which that flawless tone is produced.
The broad, sweeping phrases of his improvisations have the structural stability of compositions in their own right and who can forget Benny’s solo on the Norman Granz produced Funky Blues when he came on after Charlie Parker and Johnny Hodges with what sounded like a two-chorus summing up of the history of jazz.