Betty Carter Talking Jazz
A fiercely independent woman, Betty Carter has been a jazz singer's jazz singer since her emergence in the 1940's with the Lionel Hampton band. She has continued since then to find young jazz musicians and to train them in the finer points of their craft, expanding the boundaries of her own performances even as she maintained a rigorous traveling and performance schedule. Recently, her recordings have become prominent on the jazz charts in the United States, but for years before this turn-around in 1988, she worked the clubs and, occasionally, concerts without much visibility or the recognition that she so obviously deserved. The reasons for this sad omission included her obvious commitment to the highest artistic standards (her refusal to change her presentation to satisfy anybody else's idea of commercial music) and the fact that her style of interpreting popular songs has always been a challenge for the average listener to absorb. The following conversation was held just as her business fortunes were beginning to change for the better.