Betty Carter

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About Betty Carter

With her unique tone and fluid scatting abilities, jazz legend Betty Carter could sometimes sound almost as much like a trumpeter as a singer. Born in Flint, MI, in 1929 and raised in Detroit, she began singing and studying piano in her teens. Early in her career, Carter worked with Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, and she joined Lionel Hampton’s band in 1948. During this time, she began perfecting her scatting skills, though it caused conflict with Hampton, and she left the band in 1951. She released her first album under her own name in 1955, but it was her 1961 duo album with Ray Charles that made Carter famous, largely through the crossover pop success of the single “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” Carter continued to refine her style over the years, bringing many new musicians to light along the way, including Cyrus Chestnut and Dave Holland. She maintained an active career right up to the end, losing her life to cancer in 1998.

Flint, MI, United States
May 16, 1929
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