Benny Carter Biography

The biography of jazz legend Benny Carter offers a fascinating glimpse into the man who helped shape the sound of modern jazz. One of the most beloved jazz musicians, Benny Carter, was a tenor saxophonist and bandleader who played with some of the biggest names in jazz history.

The man who taught us to play blues guitar.

It's been said that no two musicians are alike. Yet, despite the vast number of musicians worldwide, only one Benny Carter exists. It is not to say that he is the only person ever to pick up a guitar and play, but instead that he is the only person ever to be recognised for his contributions to the world of music. 

In the late 1930's, Carter began playing with John Hammond, Lionel Hampton, Charlie Christian, and Duke Ellington. Throughout the 1940s and 1950's, Carter played with big names like Nat King Cole, Sarah Vaughan, and Ella Fitzgerald. He also played with some of the greatest guitarists of all time, including Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappelli, and Chet Atkins.

In 1954, Carter decided to leave the world of jazz to focus on a career in pop music. However, by the decade's end, Carter had returned to jazz and played in bands with Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis. During the 1960s, Carter played with many great artists, including Frank Zappa, Thelonious Monk, Oscar Peterson, and Herbie Mann. 

Early Life

  • Benny Carter was born in New York City on May 14, 1922. He took him to an African-American family. His father, William Carter, was a barber and his mother, Lillian Carter, was a housewife. Carter grew up in Harlem, where he attended P.S. 81. At nine, he started playing piano and, later, trumpet. Carter began taking lessons in these instruments when he was around 10.
  • When he was 12 years old, Carter moved to Chicago to live with his uncle, John Carter. He attended Wendell Phillips High School, where he met future jazz musicians John Coltrane and Miles Davis. After high school, Carter attended the University of Chicago.
  • At the age of 14, Carter joined the band of the legendary trumpeter Harry James.
  • Then, at the age of 16, he joined the band of the legendary jazz guitarist Eddie Lang. In the fall of 1941, Carter graduated high school and began attending the Juilliard School of Music classes.
  • While studying at Juilliard, Carter became friends with another future jazz musician, pianist Lennie Tristano. Carter and Tristano would often jam together and perform at parties. At one such party, Carter met his first wife, singer Mary Lou Williams.
  • Carter's friendship with Tristano would prove to be invaluable. Tristano introduced Carter to the work of Duke Ellington, and it was through Ellington that Carter would meet pianist Thelonious Monk.

Carter's Jobs

  • Carter's first professional job was as a trumpeter with the Harry James orchestra.
  • Next, he worked with the Ted Lewis Orchestra. After this, he joined the Claude Thorn hill band and then the Claude Thorn hill and His Orchestra. He left the Thornhill band to join the Harry James orchestra, where he stayed for a year.
  • In 1938, Carter formed his group. He called the group the Benny Carter Trio. They performed at the Apollo Theater and other venues around New York City. In 1939, Carter was drafted into the army and served in World War II. During his time in the military, Carter was stationed in Germany and met the great guitarist Django Reinhardt. Reinhardt had been working as a soldier in the German army when he met Carter. 
  • Finally, in 1945, Carter returned to New York City and resumed his career as a jazz musician.
  • In 1946, Carter started playing with the Lionel Hampton band. In 1948, he joined the Count Basie band. He stayed with Basie for eight years and toured with him throughout the United States and Europe.
  • After leaving Basie, Carter played with the Lionel Hampton band for another five years. He then joined the Duke Ellington band. He stayed with Ellington for three years and toured with him throughout the United States and Europe.
  • In 1953, Carter decided to leave the world of jazz to focus on a career in pop music.
  • He lauched his album named Further Definitions with his orchestra in 1962. 
  • Unquestionably, Carter was one of the most excellent jazz musicians of all time. He is best known for his performances with the Lionel Hampton band, the Duke Ellington band, and the Count Basie band.
  • Benny Carter died on March 9, 1998, at 84.


In conclusion, The “Lazy Shuffle” is a jazz standard composed by Benny Carter in 1946. The song was a hit for vocalist Billy Eckstine. The song lyrics are as follows: “Lazy shuffle, lazy shuffle, just move your feet. Move your feet, make a lazy circle, and make a lazy circle. Lazy shuffle, lazy shuffle, you are the boss of me.” The song's title, “Lazy Shuffle,” is somewhat misleading since it implies a certain degree of laziness in the music. However, the song is a lively dance tune, making it a perfect choice for dancing. Many artists have recorded the song, including the American jazz vocalist Billie Holiday and the British jazz musician Kenny Ball.

If you’re looking for a biography on Benny Carter, you’ve come to the right place. It is a complete biography of Benny Carter, born on January 21, 1900. He died on July 29, 1983.