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Benny Carter

Benny Carter's long career was consistently characterized by high musical achievement, and he developed a unique and readily identifiable style as both an alto saxophonist and an arranger. He was able to double on trumpet and was also proficient on clarinet, piano, and trombone. His saxophone playing was pure-toned, fluid, and flawlessly phrased. One of the trademark sounds of his arrangements was four saxophones harmonizing one of his swooping melodies as if they were one instrument improvising. He also created the big-band model of contending brass and reed sections, anticipated harmonic trends that would later appear in bebop, and transformed a clunky Western notion of musical time into something more buoyant and fresh.

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