Celebrating anew the dearly departed whose impact on jazz remains hale and hearty.
Name: Betty Carter
Claim to fame: One of jazz’s most adventurous singers, Carter’s inimitable interpretations included (but were not limited to) weightless highs, guttural lows and squiggly, long-running improvisational scats. She released records independently on her own label long before any hipster in an ironic T-shirt; gave Christmas some much-needed va-va-voom with "Baby, It's Cold Outside," her slinky duet with Ray Charles.
Star sign: Taurus, which made her uncompromising in her vision of how she should sound and stubborn in her refusal to be pigeonholed by record companies, producers or even the public, ergo the formation of her own Bet-Car imprint.
Why she’s still relevant: That dazzling, wild, gorgeous, heart-stopping voice, which induces a kind of synesthesia in the listener, making it seem like you’re actually hearing the colours of the rainbow.
Own it: The Audience with Betty Carter (1979, Verve).
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You oughta know: Maynard Ferguson, a template for cool
A Valentine’s kiss with ‘Moody’s Mood for Love’
All About Jazz Betty Carter page
on Mar 02, 2012