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January 14, 1988 - Image 7

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1988-01-14

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ARTS

S

The Michigan Daily

Thursday, January 14, 1988

Pog .7

Carter

to

bebop

at

the

'Bird'

By Marc S. Taras
In the mind of jazz singer Betty
Carter everything is new. Even the
past is recreated. Old songs are
revitalized and approached in new
ways. For Betty Carter, performing a
song the same way is equivalent to
thinking the same way, and in jazz
flexibility is an asset.
Betty Carter is coming home to
Michigan this week for three nights
of jazz at Ron Brooks' Bird of Par-
adise. She appears tonight through
Saturday at 7:30 and 9:30 nightly,
with an extra 11:30 show added to-
morrow and Saturday. With her trio,
Carter is sure to cook up a new
storm at the Bird.
Carter was born Ella Mae Jones
in Flint in 1930. She studied voice
in the Detroit Public Schools and
piano at the Detroit Conservatory of
Music. As a teenager she won an
amateur contest at the Paradise The-
atre and soon began sitting in with
jazz luminaries gigging in Detroit.
She took the stage with Dizzy
Gillespie, Max Roach, Miles Davis,
and Charlie Parker.
She joined the Lionel Hampton
Orchestra in 1948. It was an ideal
situation for an exciting and ex-
citable youngster. Hampton's Or-
chestra was educational in that the
group was always trying something

new: new material, new arrange-
ments, new themes for old tunes.
Betty Carter learned to think on her
feet.
A Washington, D.C. gig with
Miles Davis eventually led to a
meeting and recording session with
Ray Charles. This was a tremendous
boost for Carter's career. Over the
years she has worked with every
"name" musician and has performed
at every major festival in the U.S.
and abroad.
In 1969, faced with waning inter-
est in jazz among record companies,
Carter formed her own record com-
pany, Bet-Car Productions. Now for
the first time major distributors are
vying for the privilege of marketing
the Bet-Car catalog. Her tenacity in
promoting her own material is just
one aspect of Carter's personality
that has contributed to a reputation
as a strong-willed, outspoken artist.
Betty Carter has strong ties to the
traditional roots of jazz and works

strictly with acoustic instruments.
She's the youngest of a generation
that brought us Sarah Vaughn, Ella
Fitzgerald, and Carmen McRae. For
her jazz should be educational as
well as uplifting.
She sings in a beautiful contralto,
and has developed an alarming range.
She swings from a whisper to a
growl and hits notes so low they can
make you shiver. Swings! There are
no words to fully express the veloc-
ity Carter achieves. Tie yourself to
your seat or look out! You are
caught in a tornado!
A few years ago at Montreux-De-
troit Carter was due to give a free
performance outdoors on Hart Plaza.
It was overcast and had started rain-
ing. But there was an audience will-
ing to listen, hence Betty Carter was
ready to sing. She growled at the
clouds and told us she'd make the
rain go away. By the third song the
sun was shining as brightly as the
faces in the audience. When Betty

Carter sings, heaven turns to listen.
Now I can't guarantee that Betty
Carter will make the sun shine in
the midnight blue of the Bird of
Paradise... but she will be the
hottest thing in town this winter's
weekend.
Showtime for the BETTY CARTER
TRIO is 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. all three
nights, with 11:30 p.m. shows
Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $10
at the door.

i;

Feeling talented?

pp,

x .--/
Legendary jazz singer Betty Carter sings from a whisper to a growl and
hits notes so low they can make you shiver. The Michigan native
promises to be the hottest thing in town this winter's evening and this
weekend at the Bird of Paradise.

staprboud
W Campus-Wide Talent Compel

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