August 8, 1907 – July 12, 2003
More great music like this at 30sJazz.com
There was “Duke”…”Count”…”Lady Day”…and “Pres.”
Benny Carter was “King.”
Composer, arranger, instrumentalist.
He didn’t have a lot of “hits” and is thus not as well known as he should be, but here’s a short list of the musicians who bought his arrangements:
Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Lena Horne, Glenn Miller, Gene Krupa, and Tommy Dorsey.
In Hollywood, he wrote arrangements Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Billy Eckstine, Pearl Bailey, Ray Charles, Peggy Lee, Lou Rawls, Louis Armstrong, Freddie Slack and Mel Torme.
In 1945, trumpeter Miles Davis made his first recordings with Carter as sideman on album Benny Carter and His Orchestra and considered him a close friend and mentor.
Carter was one of the first black men to compose music for films. He was an inspiration and a mentor for Quincy Jones when Jones began writing for television and films in the 1960s.
Carter’s successful legal battles in order to obtain housing in then-exclusive neighbourhoods in the Los Angeles area made him a pioneer in an entirely different area.