1920 to 1997
August 8, 1907 in Harlem
July 12, 2003
Manhattan, New York, United States
Bennett Lester Carter (August 8, 1907 - July 12, 2003) was an American jazz alto saxophonist, trumpeter, composer, arranger, and bandleader. He was a major figure in jazz from the 1930s to the 1990s, and was recognised as such by other jazz musicians who called him King. 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. Carter began playing professionally at 15. He first recorded in 1928 and formed his first big band the following year.