“In all honesty, I think I just played what I felt was right for me. And I think I would have done the same thing, even if I’d been born later, when Charlie Parker was influencing everybody. The truth is, I never gave it much thought. I just played what I had to play.”
“I didn’t know Charlie Parker well, but I spent some time with him, and he was articulate and well-spoken with a lot of curiosity about music and the world. But the only way he seems to be depicted is as a junkie. And that’s not the full picture.”
“At my age, I realize that my most precious possession is time, and I’ve got too much unfinished work to do to spend even a minute talking about myself.”
No one in jazz history,including Armstrong, Ellington, Gillespie, Parker, you name him or her, was more universally admired by his brethren.
– Gary Giddins (in The Village Voice, 8/20/03)
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.
– Duke Ellington (Metronome, 11/43)
Everybody ought to listen to Benny. He’s a whole musical education.
– Miles Davis
…probably the most rounded and sophisticated of all the jazz composers.
– André Previn (in Benny Carter: Symphony in Riffs, a film by Harrison Engle, 1991)
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. He’s a total musician. He was the pioneer, he was the foundation. He made it possible for that doubt to be taken away.–
Quincy Jones (in Benny Carter: Symphony in Riffs, a film by Harrison Engle, 1991)
He’s the consummate musician. More than anyone else, he represents what American music is all about.
David Sanborn (in Benny Carter: Symphony in Riffs, a film by Harrison Engle, 1991)
When I grow up I want to be just like Benny Carter!
Dizzy Gillespie (concert, Princeton University, 11/10/79)