Awarded: April 2000
(Aug. 8, 1907 - July 12, 2003)
For over six decades, Benny Carter has occupied a unique place in American music. As a soloist, along with Johnny Hodges, Carter was the model for swing era alto saxophonists. He is nearly unique in his ability to double on trumpet, which he plays in an equally distinctive style. Carter is an accomplished clarinetist and has recorded proficiently on piano and trombone. As a composer, he helped chart the course of big band jazz, and his compositions, such as “When Lights Are Low” and “Blues in My Heart,” have become jazz standards.