From Learner to Leader, 1920s-1940s
Carter traveled to Europe in 1935 to join Willie Lewis’ orchestra in Paris primarily as a trumpeter and arranger. In March 1936, he moved to London where he arranged for the BBC Dance Orchestra under the direction of Henry Hall. Although his public appearances were restricted by British union regulations, Carter made an extensive series of recordings with top British musicians for Vocalion. He also gave a highly acclaimed concert at London’s Hippodrome.
Carter continued to tour and record in Holland, Sweden, Denmark, and France in addition to his work in England. During this time, he is credited with leading the first interracial, international orchestra. He teamed with tenor giant Coleman Hawkins, also living in Europe, on two occasions for recordings. Finally, in 1938, with war imminent, Carter returned to the United States.
Musical Selection: "I'm in the Mood for Swing"
from Benny Carter, Volume 9: 1938-1939, Masters of Jazz,
MJCD 124 (1997).