Betty Carter Day

May 16, 1929 – September 26, 1998

My Favorite Things

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Singer Betty Carter, born Lillie Mae Jones, was born on May 16, 1929, in Flint, Michigan.

Even as a teenager, she had caught the attention of Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. At the age of 19, Lionel Hampton hired her to join his band, and in 1960, she toured with Ray Charles.

Carter managed to navigate through the challenging times faced by many straight ahead jazz musicians in the 1960s and 1970s. She experienced a surge in popularity that spread her music across the globe.

Known for her improvisational vocalizations, Betty Carter’s singing career began in Flint, Michigan, where she sang in the church choir.

During this period, her bandmates nicknamed her “The Kid,” and she is regarded as the last of the big band jazz singers due to her time spent under Hampton’s guidance.

After leaving Hampton’s band, she moved to New York in 1951 and spent much of the decade recording with King Pleasure, the “Ray Bryant Trio,” and performing at the Apollo Theater.

Based on Miles Davis’ recommendation, Betty began touring with Ray Charles in 1960, and the following year, the duo recorded the R&B hit “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”

Betty Carter continued to perform until her death in 1998, rightfully earning her place among the most celebrated jazz singers of our time.

Betty Carter and her Trio perform “My Favorite Things” live in East Berlin for German TV in 1985.


Betty Carter, vocals
Benny Green, piano
unknown, bass
Winard Harper, drums


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