In 1995 MusicMasters Records embarked on a project to bring Carterís songwriting gifts to the fore. Sixteen leading singers collaborated on a unique recording project, The Benny Carter Songbook, which includes some thirty Carter songs--old and new--with Carter as featured soloist. Volume One of this collection has been issued and includes such vocal greats as Joe Williams, Dianne Reeves, Ruth Brown, Shirley Horn, Peggy Lee, and Bobby Short. 1996 also saw the release on home video of the highly acclaimed documentary on Carter, Symphony in Riffs.
In March of 1996 Carterís multifaceted musical gifts were on display
in a major event at Lincoln Center in New York. Carter appeared with
the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra conducted by Wynton Marsalis in an
evening of Carterís music. In addition to performing some Carter
classics, the Orchestra premiered a new suite, Echoes of San Juan
Hill, the composerís musical depiction of the New York neighborhood
where he grew up.
Benny Carter remains a vibrantly creative improviser. Constantly
evolving and absorbing, Carter's playing retains the basic
foundations that have always made it readily identifiable. Since
turning eighty (in 1987), he has toured the world many times, written
and performed five extended works, played unaccompanied saxophone on
a film soundtrack, delivered his first commencement address, jammed
with the King of Thailand, and recorded over a dozen CDs in every
conceivable setting (for which he received seven Grammy nominations
and two Grammy awards). As he likes to say, "My good old days are
here and now." Benny Carter proves it every time he steps on stage.
It is not surprising that, in a music populated by royalty, Benny
Carter is still known to his fellow musicians as "King."
< Previous Page