Eastman Jazz Workshop Ensemble presents: A Benny Carter Retrospective Friday, November 9, at 7:30 p.m. in Kilbourn Hall at the Eastman School of Music. Conducted by director Chase Ellison (MM ‘16), the concert’s music is solely compositions of Carter’s including: Jackson County Jubilee, Remember, Easy Money, Amoroso, Sunset Glow, and others. It also includes a few jazz standards that Carter arranged, such as It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing and In a Mellow Tone.
Benny “King” Carter (1907-2003), a world-class saxophonist and arranger, was not only well-regarded within the field of jazz, he also had ties to Eastman. He performed here in 1996 and many professors and students praised his skills, music, and incredible work ethic. While perhaps not as well known to a general audience, he was an incredibly influential figure in jazz, recording with individuals like Count Basie, Zoot Sims, and even Ella Fitzgerald, who said, “He’s everything a musician would want to be.”
Ellison, conductor of the Jazz Workshop Ensemble, picked Carter’s music as the theme of this concert, saying, “Benny Carter is a composer/arranger that might be overlooked, but he adds a very important element in the history of the music. Our students are benefitting greatly from learning his music, and we hope audiences will, too.”
Created by the Jazz and Contemporary music faculty to respond to an increase in students and to the need for another jazz ensemble at Eastman, the Eastman Jazz Workshop Ensemble is in its third year, the second under Ellison’s direction.
The concert is free and open to the public.
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About Eastman School of Music:
The Eastman School of Music was founded in 1921 by industrialist and philanthropist George Eastman (1854-1932), founder of Eastman Kodak Company. It was the first professional school of the University of Rochester. Mr. Eastman’s dream was that his school would provide a broad education in the liberal arts as well as superb musical training. The current dean is Jamal Rossi, appointed in 2014.
About 900 students are enrolled in Eastman’s Collegiate Division—about 550 undergraduate and 350 graduate students. Students come from almost every state, and approximately 25 percent are from other countries. They are guided by more than 95 full-time faculty members. Six alumni and three faculty members have been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music, and numerous alumni and faculty have received Grammy Awards. Each year, Eastman’s students, faculty members, and guest artists present more than 800 concerts to the Rochester community.