On Benny Carter's 110th birthday--remember that he was a trumpet great
by David Tenner
August 8 is the 110th anniversary of Benny Carter's birth. His achievements as alto saxophonist, composer, arranger, bandleader, etc. have often been celebrated, but his stature as a trumpet player, while not totally ignored, has not in my opinion been sufficiently emphasized. He actually started out as a trumpet (or, to be more precise, cornet) player and only took up the saxophone after heating Frank Trumbauer's solo in "I Never Miss the Sunshine." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Jj5HLUyd3g From his twenties into his eighties (!) he played enough excellent trumpet solos to earn a place in jazz history even if he had never played any other instrument. I'll just list some of them here:
(4) 1939--with Jerry Kruger, "Summertime" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9JctRqcDso Brian Rust to the contrary notwithstanding, it's Carter (not Buck Clayton) on trumpet and Ernie Powell (not Lester Young) on tenor sax. Carter remarked, though, that it was a compliment to have been mistaken for Clayton...
(14) 1977--"Confessin' That I Love You" from a tribute to Louis Armstrong https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5d651M5rno Carter's solo starts at 2:10. (Cat Anderson solos on "Sleepytime Down South" and Joe Newman on "When You're Smiling." Newman also does a great Armstrong vocal impression.