In 1999, Benny Carter celebrated his 92nd birthday. In a musical career unmatched in longevity, diversity, and excellence, Carter occupies a unique place in American music. As Duke Ellington once wrote: "The problem of expressing the contributions that Benny Carter has made to popular music is so tremendous it completely fazes me, so extraordinary a musician is he." His accomplishments span eight decades as a professional musician-from the 1920s to the 1990s.
As a soloist, Carter, along with Johnny Hodges, was the model for swing era alto saxophonists. He is nearly unique in his ability to double on trumpet, which he plays in an equally distinctive style. In addition, he is an accomplished clarinetist, and has recorded proficiently on piano and trombone. As an arranger, he helped chart the course of big band jazz, and his compositions, such as "When Lights Are Low" and "Blues In My Heart," have become jazz standards. Carter has also made major musical contributions to the world of film and television. His musicianship and personality have won him the respect of fellow artists and audiences on every continent.
Born in New York in 1907, Carter 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. He eventually joined Fletcher Henderson's seminal orchestra, and in 1931 he became musical director of another important musical organization: the Detroit-based McKinney's Cotton Pickers.
In 1942, he brought a reorganized big band to California, where he has lived ever since. In the mid-1940s, the band included important modernists, such as Miles Davis, J.J. Johnson, Max Roach, and Art Pepper, all of whom have acknowledged their debt to Carter as a teacher. As Miles Davis once said: "Everyone should listen to Benny Carter. He's a whole musical education."
Opening at Billy Berg's Swing Club in Los Angeles in November 1942. Within months, he was asked to work on his first Hollywood film, Stormy Weather, for which he arranged and played. His work, particularly his string writing, so impressed musical director Alfred Newman that soon Carter's talents were tapped for many other productions at 20th Century Fox and other major studios. Eventually, he was in such demand in the studios that he decided to give up leading his big band in 1946. Over the next two decades, he worked on (and occasionally appeared in) such major films as An American in Paris, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, The Sun Also Rises, The Guns of Navarone, Flower Drum Song, and many others. He eventually got the opportunity to serve as musical director for several productions including A Man Called Adam (1965) and Buck and the Preacher (1972).
In the late 1950s, Carter began to compose and arrange for television, contribution to such programs as M-Squad, Bob Hope's Chrysler Theater, Alfred Hitchcock, Ironside, and The Name of the Game. He also has written scores for several award-winning animated films by John and Faith Hubley. In 1993, Carter recorded a solo saxophone soundtrack for the Canadian television documentary: The Future of Aging.
Carter helped many other talented African-American composers to break the color barrier in the Hollywood studios. As Quincy Jones notes: "Benny opened the eyes of a lot of producers and studios, so that they could understand that you could go to blacks for other things outside of blues and barbecue." Carter also played a leading role in integrating the Los Angeles musicians' union in the 1950s.
Buck and The Preacher Score
Original Music by
As far as we were aware nothing was ever released from this. DJ Teddy Rosso from Norway has now corrected the situation by providing an ultra rare double "a" side promo single with the Theme instrumental. Enjoy!
As an added bonus I couldn't resist posting the Vocal track Theme from Buck and The Preacher by New Birth from their LP Birth Day and interestingly the same band called themselves Nite-Liters and released an LP Different Strokes w. an instumental, so I just thought I'd post it too for good measure. Enjoy the Funk!
Link to movie review
Sidney Poitier - Buck and The Preacher (1972)