The One and Only
Sources disagree whether the immortal Betty Carter was born in 1929 or 1930, but there is no discrepancy when it comes to these facts: The singer was born on May 16 in Flint, Mich., raised in Detroit, and comprised a category of one -- and among the most spontaneous musicians we've ever had in jazz. Here's an epic version of one of her signature pieces, "Sounds," from what for many remains her most vital recording, "The Audience with Betty Carter," recorded in 1979 with pianist John Hicks, bassist Curtis Lundy and drummer Kenny Washington. Carter died in 1998. About 15 years earlier, I remember standing with musicologist Larry Gushee at the University of Illinois when he told someone, "Betty Carter -- she can change your life." This is what he was talking about.