Carter, Benny [Bennett Lester] (jazz)
- Edward Berger
[Bennett Lester] (jazz)
(b New York, Aug 8, 1907; d Los Angeles, July 12, 2003). American alto saxophonist, trumpeter, arranger, composer, and bandleader.
Carter received early musical training from his mother and several neighborhood teachers, but was primarily self-taught. He first played trumpet, then tried C-melody saxophone, and shortly thereafter changed to alto saxophone, which became his principal instrument. After playing with June Clark (1924–5) he worked in Pittsburgh with the reed player and arranger Billy Paige and, briefly, Earl Hines (both 1925), then toured with Horace Henderson’s Wilberforce Collegians (late 1925–1926). Back in New York he spent a considerable time with Charlie Johnson’s band, but he also worked with the baritone saxophonist and bandleader Billy Fowler (cApril–November 1926), and he first played with Fletcher Henderson when he sat in for Don Redman (October 1926). Upon leaving Johnson in February 1928 he rejoined Horace Henderson’s group for further touring. While in Detroit, the Wilberforce Collegians elected Carter their leader. He took them back to New York for an engagement at the Savoy Ballroom in summer ...