James Carter (musician)

Last updated
James Carter
James Carter.jpg
James Carter, Bad Ischl 2006
Background information
Born (1969-01-03) January 3, 1969 (age 52)
Origin Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Genres Jazz
Instruments Bass clarinet
Labels DIW
Half Note
Associated acts Bird-Trane-Sco-Now!
Website jamescarterlive.com

James Carter (born January 3, 1969) is an American jazz musician. He is the cousin of jazz violinist Regina Carter.



Carter was born in Detroit, Michigan, and learned to play under the tutelage of Donald Washington, becoming a member of his youth jazz ensemble Bird-Trane-Sco-NOW!! As a young man, Carter attended Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, becoming the youngest faculty member at the camp. He first toured Scandinavia with the International Jazz Band in 1985 at the age of 16.

On May 31, 1988, at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), Carter was a last-minute addition for guest artist Lester Bowie, which turned into an invitation to play with his new quintet (forerunner of his New York Organ Ensemble) in New York City that following November at the now defunct Carlos 1 jazz club. This was pivotal in Carter's career, putting him in musical contact with the world, and he moved to New York two years later. He has been prominent as a performer and recording artist on the jazz scene since the late 1980s, playing saxophones, flute, and clarinets. On his album Chasin' the Gypsy (2000), he recorded with his cousin, the jazz violinist Regina Carter.

Carter has won DownBeat magazine's Critics and Readers Choice award for baritone saxophone several years in a row. He has performed, toured and played on albums with Lester Bowie, Julius Hemphill, Frank Lowe & the Saxemble, Kathleen Battle, the World Saxophone Quartet, Cyrus Chestnut, Wynton Marsalis, Dee Dee Bridgewater and the Mingus Big Band. [1]

Carter is an authority on vintage saxophones, and he owns an extensive collection of such instruments, [2] including one formerly played by Don Byas. [3]


As sideman

With Karrin Allyson

With the Art Ensemble of Chicago

With Ginger Baker and the DGQ20

With Kathleen Battle

With Hamiet Bluiett

with Lester Bowie's New York Organ Ensemble

With Dee Dee Bridgewater

With Regina Carter

With Cyrus Chestnut

With Jayne Cortez & The Firespitters'

With Benny Golson

With Herbie Hancock

With the Julius Hemphill Sextet

With D. D. Jackson

With Ronald Shannon Jackson

With Wynton Marsalis

With Christian McBride

With Liz McComb

With Marcus Miller

With Junco Onishi

With Madeleine Peyroux

With Odean Pope

With Steve Turre

With Roseanna Vitro and Kenny Werner

With Rodney Whitaker

With the World Saxophone Quartet

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  1. "Biography". Jamescarterlive.com. October 28, 2010.
  2. "Stern, Chip "Jazz Instruments: James Carter blows through saxophone history", Jazz Times (June 2000)". Archived from the original on 2016-04-14.
  3. Chip Chandler (2014-01-15). "Musician in long-term love affair with sax". Amarillo Globe-News. Retrieved 2015-08-07.