[JPL] Sunday Jazz Trivia/Benny Carter
tr at wfcr.org
Tue Sep 23 07:03:27 EDT 2008
Two quick notes on Benny Carter. It was during his 1936 sojourn in London
that he first recorded "When Lights Are Low," featuring the English vocalist
Elisabeth Welch. A year later in Paris, he and Hawk recorded 4 glorious
titles with Django and Stephane Grappelli (on piano) as the All-Star Jam
Jae touted his prowess in non-playing capacities, but he was a monster on
alto, one of the big three, along with Hodges and Willie Smith, of the
pre-WWII years, and of those the most influential. Art Pepper, Phil Woods
and Cannonball Adderley (and many other altos) had lots of Benny as well as
Bird in their styles.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Eric Jackson" <eric-jackson at comcast.net>
To: <jazzproglist at jazzweek.com>
Sent: Monday, September 22, 2008 9:12 AM
Subject: Re: [JPL] Sunday Jazz Trivia
>>> Nat King Cole
>>> 2. He led the BBC Dance Orchestra from the mid to late 30's after he
>>>> to Europe from the states. Upon his return he was responsible for
>>>> black musicians work in Hollywood studios and as an integral part of
>>>> Musicians Union Locals. Who was he?
>>> Benny Carter
>>> Eric Jackson
>>> Mon - Thurs 8 pm - mid.
>>> 89.7 FM WGBH Boston
>>> Jae Sinnett
>> I knew that Benny Carter worked with other European bands but didn't know
>> about his connection with the BBC Dance Orchestra; according to Grove
>> (which I only looked at *after* getting the answer) he was only a
>> staff-arranger, did he in fact 'lead' the orchestra? Do recordings
>> I have a couple of the Off-The-Air aircheck LPs featuring Benny Carter on
>> the British label Spotlite but they're only American recordings from the
>> 40's, one features Mary Lou Williams on piano though .. N
> I have a 3 CD set on Affinity entitled Benny Carter, The Complete
> Recordings, 1930 - 1940 vol 1. Even though the set includes several London
> recording dates, nothing is listed as being by the BBC Orchestra.
> Here is a segment from the informative notes by Alun Morgan that come with
> the set.
> "In fact he remained with the Willie Lewis band until March 1936 when he
> received an offer to come to England. This had come about through the good
> offices of Leonard Feather, who knew of Benny's work through his records.
> (Benny was familiar with Feather's writings but the two had never met
> before 18th March when Leonard met Benny off the boat train in Victoria
> Station.) Thanks to both the recommendations of both Feather and Spike
> Hughes, Henry Hull, then leading the BBC Dance Orchestra agreed to employ
> Carter as a staff arranger. Benny's work permit prevented him from
> actually playing in public or broadcasting with the Dance Orchestra
> (although special permission was given for one public concert later.) The
> permit also had to be renewed at intervals which meant that Benny had to
> leave the U.K. for a few months at a time and then re-enter, making a
> fresh application on each occasion.
> Carter recalls that he would produce around six arrangements a week for
> Henry Hull; sometimes it would be two a day if one was simply a framework
> for a vocalist. Leonard Feather remembers it was only nine days after he
> and Carter met at Victoria Station that the BBC Dance Orchestra broadcast
> it's first arrangement by this brilliant visiting American.
> The work permit did not prevent Benny from making records in Britain and
> between April and June 1936 he did four dates for the reactivated Vocalion
> label under the a. and r. responsibility of Feather."
> Eric Jackson
> Mon - Thurs 8 pm - mid.
> 89.7 FM WGBH Boston
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