The Kennedy Center

James Carter



Biography

James Carter, saxophonist native to Detroit, is one of the brightest stars in jazz. Mr. Carter's range covers the gamut from jazz to swing, funky to classical. His October 2002 premiere of Roberto Sierra's Concerto for Saxophones and Orchestra with conductor Neeme Jarvi and the Detroit Symphony was greeted with standing ovations and nightly demands to reprise the last movement. He learned to play the saxophone from local be-bop veteran Donald Washington. In 1975, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis invited the 17-year-old saxophonist to play several dates with his quintet, and three years later he made his New York debut with Lester Bowie's New York Organ Ensemble. In New York Mr. Carter played and recorded with Julius Hemphill's saxophone sextet, the great vocalist Betty Carter, the classical singer Kathleen Battle, and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis's Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. He has performed with Herbie Hancock, Rodney Whitaker and Flip Phillips.. In 1994, James Carter achieved national recognition as a solo artist with his Atlantic Records debut CD, The Real QuietStorm, soon followed by JC on the Set (1993). Conversin' with the Elders – a living musical tribute with jazz pioneers Buddy Tate, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Jamlet Bluiett, and Lester Bowie - followed in 1995. Mr. Carter made his screen debut (and contributed to the subsequent film soundtrack CD) in Robert Altman's Kansas City, playing the role of the legendary tenor saxophonist Ben Webster, with a cast that included pianist Cyrus Chestnut and drummer Victor Lewis. His next recording, In Carterian Fashion, included the Hammond B3 Organ (Atlantic, 1998). Next came the romantic swing CD Chasin' the Gypsy, inspired by Europe's legendary Romany jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, and the funky free jazz CD Layin' in the Cut , Mr. Carter's first recording with an all-electric band. James Carter and his groups appear at leading New York venues such at the Blue Note , and throughout the U.S. and Europe. James Carter performed in the Terrace Theater on March 8, 1999 as a guest on Billy Taylor's Jazz at the Kennedy Center and he returned to the KC Jazz Club as leader of the James Carter Organ Trio January 31 and February 1, 2003.

April 2004
James Carter