As part of the Triple Cities Jazz Concert Series, The Goodwill Theatre will present The Benny Carter Legacy, Sunday February 17 at 2 p.m. featuring Tom Heinze, Al Hamme and the Northeastern Pennsylvania Repertory Orchestra. The Goodwill Theatre’s 2012-2013 Triple Cities Jazz Concert Series is sponsored by Sentry Alarms and Robert J. Hanafin Insurance.
The Benny Carter Legacy show will feature songs from his Further Definitions album including: “I’m Comin’ Virginia”, “Rock Bottom”, “We Were in Love”, “Blue Star” and others. All the music has been composed and arranged by Benny Carter; accept for “I’m Comin’ Virginia”, which was written by Donald Heywood and arranged by Benny Carter.
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. He was attracted to the trumpet through his cousin, the legendary Cuban Bennett, and a neighbor, the great Ellington brass man Bubber Miley. Carter saved for months to buy a trumpet but, failing to master it over the weekend, he exchanged it for a C-melody saxophone. Frankie Trumbauer was an early inspiration to the young Benny, who was largely self-taught. By age fifteen, Carter was already sitting in at Harlem night spots.
The Northeastern Pennsylvania Repertory Orchestra (NPRO) is the resident professional jazz ensemble at Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The jazz studies program at Marywood includes a number of performing organizations encompassing various levels of expertise and the NPRO is the premier “special projects” ensemble of the groups. Its members are the finest professional performers in Northeastern Pennsylvania and the Southern Tier of New York.
The NPRO was formed by Marywood Director of Jazz Studies, Tom Heinze in 2011 as a tribute band for the Benny Crater Jazz Festival at the university. During that premier performance, the NPRO performed Carter’s “Kansas City Suite” (1960) which was written for the Count Basie band.
The NPRO saxophone and rhythm sections (aka the Benny Carter Legacy Ensemble) will play Carter compositions written for two albums in the nineteen sixties. Those recordings (Further Definitions – 1961 and Additions to Further Definitions – 1967) are considered to be historically significant offerings for this type of ensemble; and have been studied by jazz musicians as the best example of composition for a saxophone section. The NPRO is committed to sustaining the “Carter Legacy” by frequently performing concerts entirely devoted to the music Benny composed during his long and prolific career, which encompassed eight decades from the 1920’s through the beginning of the twenty first century.
Tickets for The Benny Carter Legacy are $25 for adults, $22 for seniors and students. You can purchase tickets online at: www.goodwilltheatre.net or by calling the Box Office at (607) 772-2404, ext. 301.