Public radio from Western Michigan University 102.1 NPR News | 89.9 Classical WMUK
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Western Michigan University's Keith Hall talks about jazz greats and talks with current practitioners of the art.0000017c-60f7-de77-ad7e-f3f73a350002

A Jazz Currents Salute to Betty Carter


Vocalist and bandleader Betty Carter was raised in Detroit and got her big break when she joined Lionel Hampton's band at the age of 18.

She soon recorded with pianist Ray Bryant and then at the suggestion of Miles Davis, Ray Charles took Carter under his wing.  The two recorded the iconic version of "Baby, It's Cold Outside" and reached the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. 

Carter became an important leader in the music industry.  She formed her own record label in the 60's and as a bandleader, she trained a long list of now well-known musicians to embrace the unfamiliar.   She had a unique vocal style and when she was on stage, anything could happen!  Carter won a Grammy Award for her 1988 release "Look What I Got" and a nomination for "Droppin' Things".  Betty Carter passed away in 1998. 

Music in this episode:

1.    I Should Care (Alex Stordahl, Paul Weston, Sammy Cahn) from Betty Carter It's Not About the Melody

2.    Thou Swell (Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart) from Meet Betty Carter and Ray Bryant

3.    Babe's Blues (Randy Weston) from Betty Carter Out There

4.    It Takes Two to Tango (Al Hoffman and Dick Manning) from Ray Charles and Betty Carter

5.    Baby, It's Cold Outside (Frank Loesser) from Ray Charles and Betty Carter

6.    What a Little Moonlight Can Do (Harry Woods) from Betty Carter Whatever Happened to Love

7.    Tight (Betty Carter) from Betty Carter The Audience

8.    Trolley Song  (Ralph Blane and Hugh Martin) from Betty Carter The Audience

9.    Droppin' Things (Betty Carter) from Betty Carter Droppin' Things

10.  Feed The Fire (Geri Allen) from Betty Carter Feed The Fire

11.  September Song (Kurt Weill) from Betty Carter I'm Yours, Your Mine

Related Content
  • Vocalist Abbey Lincoln graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School before landing in New York City, where she began a career spanning six decades.She…