Benny Carter 是爵士乐早期的重要人物，也是最早打入好莱坞的黑人作曲家之一，他为多部主流好莱坞电影做过配乐，其中包括《暴风雨》( Stormy Weather )等经典。他的音乐生涯长达70年，合作过的名家无数，其中包括迈尔斯·戴维斯(Miles Davis )、迪兹·吉列斯比( Dizzy Gillespie )等影响了爵士乐进程的人物。同时，他也是引领著名爵士女歌手艾拉·费兹杰拉德( Ella Fitzgerald )入行之人，在他将后者介绍给爵士乐队领队奇克·韦伯( Chick Webb )后，她的艺术生涯才正式起飞。卡特基本上是自学成材，早年跟母亲学过一段时间的钢琴，同时，受到了邻居布伯·米利(Bubber Miley)————艾灵顿公爵( Duke Ellington )的乐队成员的影响。15岁时，卡特已经出没在各夜店走穴。在摇摆乐(Swing)时期，他为弗莱切·韩德森( Fletcher Henderson )的大乐队作曲，赢得了声誉，1928年他与韩德森的乐队一起走进了录音室，其《Keep A Song In Your Soul 》一曲尤以出人意表的配器令人刮目相看。稍后他成立了自己的乐队。 卡特的好友兼传记作者艾德·伯格( Ed Berger )表示，卡特把爵士乐中单独一件乐器的即兴演奏有原则地扩张到整个乐队中，使乐队发出了前所未闻的声音。“他是大乐队爵士乐的奠基人之一。” 1941年，卡特成立了一个六重奏，成员包括小号手迪兹·吉列斯比以及鼓手肯尼·克拉克( Kenny Clarke )等日后的大师级人物，卡特的知人善用与好脾气使他的乐队成了爵士高手的摇篮。“每人都应该听卡特，那就是一整套的音乐教育，”迈尔斯·戴维斯说。 除了在爵士乐上的成就外，卡特还致力于打破种族之间的藩篱。20世纪1930年代中期，卡特在荷兰成立了首个国际性的跨种族乐队，大约十年后，他又成为首个为好莱坞电影配乐的黑人作曲家。To say that Benny Carter had a remarkable and productive career would be an extreme understatement. As an altoist, arranger, composer, bandleader, and occasional trumpeter, Carter was at the top of his field since at least 1928, and in the late 90s, Carter was as strong an altoist at the age of 90 as he was in 1936 (when he was merely 28). His gradually evolving style did not change much through the decades, but neither did it become at all stale or predictable except in its excellence. Benny Carter was a major figure in every decade of the 20th century since the 1920s, and his consistency and longevity were unprecedented.Essentially self-taught, Benny Carter started on the trumpet and, after a period on C-melody sax, switched to alto. In 1927, he made his recording debut with Charlie Johnsons Paradise Ten. The following year, he had his first big band (working at New Yorks Arcadia Ballroom) and was contributing arrangements to Fletcher Henderson and even Duke Ellington. Carter was with Henderson during 1930-1931, briefly took over McKinneys Cotton Pickers, and then went back to leading his own big band (1932-1934). Already at this stage he was considered one of the two top altoists in jazz (along with Johnny Hodges), a skilled arranger and composer (Blues in My Heart was an early hit and would be followed by When Lights Are Low), and his trumpet playing was excellent; Carter would also record on tenor, clarinet (an instrument he should have played more), and piano, although his rare vocals show that even he was human.In 1935, Benny Carter moved to Europe, where in London he was a staff arranger for the BBC dance orchestra (1936-1938); he also recorded in several European countries. Carters Waltzing the Blues was one of the very first jazz waltzes. He returned to the U.S. in 1938, led a classy but commercially unsuccessful big band (1939-1941), and then headed a sextet. In 1943, he relocated permanently to Los Angeles, appearing in the film Stormy Weather (as a trumpeter with Fats Waller) and getting lucrative work writing for the movie studios. He would lead a big band off and on during the next three years (among his sidemen were J.J. Johnson, Miles Davis, and Max Roach) before giving up on that effort. Carter wrote for the studios for over 50 years, but he continued recording as an altoist (and all-too-rare trumpeter) during the 1940s and 50s, making a few tours with Jazz at the Philharmonic and participating on some of Norman Granzs jam-session albums. By the mid-60s, his writing chores led him to hardly playing alto at all, but he made a full comeback by the mid-70s, and maintained a very busy playing and writing schedule even at his advanced age. Even after the rise of such stylists as Charlie Parker, Cannonball Adderley, Eric Dolphy, Ornette Coleman, and David Sanborn (in addition to their many followers), Benny Carter still ranks near the top of alto players. His concert and recording schedule remained active through the 90s, slowing only at the end of the millenium. After eight amazing decades of writing and playing, Benny Carter passed away quietly on July 13, 2003 at a Los Angeles hospital. He was 95.