Bennett Lester Carter (August 8, 1907 – July 12, 2003) was an American jazz alto saxophonist, clarinetist, trumpeter, composer, arranger, and bandleader. He was a major figure in jazz from the 1930s to the 1990s, and was recognized as such by other jazz musicians who called him King. In 1958, he performed with Billie Holiday at the legendary Monterey Jazz Festival.The National Endowment for the Arts honored Benny Carter with its highest honor in jazz, the NEA Jazz Masters Award for 1986. He was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987, winner of the Grammy Award in 1994 for his solo "Prelude to a Kiss", and also the same year, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2000 awarded the National Endowment for the Arts, National Medal of Arts, presented by President Bill Clinton. Born in New York in 1907, the youngest of three children and the only boy, received his first music lessons on piano from his mother. Largely self-taught, by age fifteen, Carter was already sitting in at Harlem night spots. From 1924 to 1928, Carter gained valuable professional experience as a sideman in some of New York's top bands. As a youth, Carter lived in Harlem around the corner from Bubber Miley who was Duke Ellington's star trumpeter, Carter was inspired by Miley and bought a trumpet, but when he found he couldn't play like Miley he traded the trumpet in for a saxophone. For the next two years he played with such jazz greats as cornetist Rex Stewart, clarinetist-soprano saxophonist Sidney Bechet, pianists Earl Hines,Willie "The Lion" Smith, pianist Fats Waller, pianist James P. Johnson, pianist Duke Ellington and their various groups.
This one-hour CD (20 tunes) is comprised of two Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS) programs recorded in early 1945 in Los Angeles to entertain U.S. troops abroad during W.W.II. The main acts are the Benny Carter and Charlie Barnet Orchestras, the Nat "King" Cole trio, vocalist Betty Roché and comedian/entertainer Jimmy Durante. Like all AFRS shows, these two programs present the top "entertainment" - jazz, popular music and comedy - acts of the early-mid 1940's.The two shows present top swing acts, where it is possible to detect the beginnings of bebop inspiration, especially in Charlie Barnet's Orch.