BMCC TPAC Presents Lost Jazz Shrines 2018: A Betty Carter Celebration

April 2, 2018

The BMCC Tribeca Performing Art Centere (BMCC TPACLost Jazz Shrines series is dedicated to restoring the memory of legendary New York City jazz venues to the consciousness of the world with a thorough remembrance and celebration.

On Friday, May 4 at 8:30 p.m., the series will celebrate the legacy of both the jazz venue Fat Tuesday’s and the legendary performer Betty Carter.

The concert will be preceded by a free panel at 7 p.m. featuring a conversation with Marc Cary, Musical Director, and Willard Jenkins, Artistic Director of Jazz Programming. They will discuss Cary’s Fat Tuesday debut performance and Carter’s enduring influence.

Fat Tuesday’s, in Manhattan, was one of the famous venues of mainstream and modern jazz in the 1980s and early 1990s. An electric performer, Betty Carter was an irrepressible and incomparable practitioner of the jazz vocal tradition.

After the free panel, Marc Cary, who spent several years as Betty Carter’s pianist-music director will perform with former members of Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead, a program for young musicians. Featured artists will include Addison Frei and Arcolis Sandoval on piano; Diego Ramirez on drums;  Barry Stephenson on bass and Charles Turner on vocals.

Betty Carter Band Alumni—musicians who played with Betty—are also set to perform. These include Clarence Penn on drums; Curtis Lundy on bass; Kenyatta Beasley on trumpet; JD Allen on saxophone; Taharqa Patterson on vocals and Marc Cary on piano.

Tickets are $30 for the concert; $20 for seniors and students, and can be purchased by calling Ticketing Services at (212) 220-1460 or online.

Marc Cary, legendary jazz performer 

Marc Cary is a graduate of both the Betty Carter and Abbey Lincoln’s daunting bandstand academies. The player-composer is a graduate of DC’s world-renowned Duke Ellington School For The Arts, also the professional spawning ground for Dave Chappelle, Wallace Roney, Denyce Graves and Meshell Ndegeocello whom Cary jammed with in the school’s orchestra. He has shared the stage with Dizzy Gillespie, Arthur Taylor, Carlos Garnett, Jackie McLean, Wynton Marsalis and Carmen McRae, and worked with Meshelle Ndegeocello, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill and Ani Di Franco.

The pianist’s debut recording as a leader was released in 1995. Since then Cary has released a baker’s dozen albums of music under his direction—three of those within the past two years for Motéma. Then there is Cary’s Rhodes Ahead series, which his current Motéma recording indexes as Volume 2 and is the first of which earned the debut annual Billboard/BET ”Best New Jazz Artist” award, in 2000.

Cary remains one of the progenitors of contemporary jazz, evident in his influence on peers. Live gigs with vibraphonist Stefon Harris and bandmate Casey Benjamin began the genesis of Robert Glasper’s recording Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” and Cary’s record “Taiwa” from Focus in 2006 evolved into “For You” on Glasper’s Double Booked and Harris’ Urbanus. Cary collaborator Roy Hargrove exalted him with “Caryisms” on 1992’s The Vibe, an album whose⿯title track is one of two Cary originals including “Running Out of Time”–now part of the lexicon of live repertoire among jazz stalwarts Hargrove, Dr. Lonnie Smith and Igmar Thomas’ Revive Big Band.

As New York Times jazz critic Nate Chinen observed recently, “There isn’t much in the modern-jazz-musician tool kit that Marc Cary hasn’t mastered, but he has a particular subspecialty in the area of groove…with a range of rhythmic strategies, from a deep-house pulse to a swinging churn.”

Betty Carter, renowned jazz singer

Betty Carter was born in Flint, Michigan in 1930 and died in 1998 in Brooklyn, New York. She was an American jazz singer who is best remembered for her improvisations including the scat and other complex musical abilities and interpretations.

Carter studied piano at the Detroit Conservatory of Music in her native Michigan and at age 16 she began singing in Detroit jazz clubs. In 1948, Carter joined Lionel Hampton’s band, and she later performed around the country in such jazz clubs as Harlem’s Apollo Theater and the Vanguard in New York, the Showboat in Philadelphia, and Blues Alley in Washington, D.C., with such jazz artists as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Muddy Waters, T-Bone Walker, and Thelonious Monk. She toured with Ray Charles from 1960 to 1963 and made a recording of duets with him in 1961. In 1971 she released her first album on her own label, Bet-Car Productions.

Beginning in the 1970s, Carter performed on the college circuit and conducted several jazz workshops. After appearing at Carnegie Hall as part of the Newport Jazz Festival in 1977 and 1978, she went on concert tours throughout the United States and Europe. Her solo albums include Betty Carter (1953), Out There (1958), The Modern Sound of Betty Carter (1960), The Audience with Betty Carter (1979) and Look What I Got! (1988), which won a Grammy Award. Determined to encourage an interest in jazz among younger people, in April 1993 Carter initiated a program she called Jazz Ahead, an annual event at which 20 young jazz musicians spend a week training and composing with her. In 1997 she was awarded a National Medal of Arts by U.S. President Bill Clinton.


BMCC Tribeca PAC is Downtown Manhattan’s premier presenter of the arts, reaching audiences from the college community, downtown residential and business communities, local schools, families, and audiences of all ages. BMCC Tribeca PAC strives to present a broad global perspective through the presentation of high-quality artistic work in music, theatre, dance, film and visual arts. BMCC Tribeca PAC is located on the Borough of Manhattan Community College campus, 199 Chambers Street (betweenGreenwich Avenue & West Street) and is convenient to the 2/3, A/C/E and R subway lines and the New Jersey Path Train. For more information please visit our website,


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  • Concert celebrating legendary jazz performer Betty Carter is Friday, May 4 at 8:30 p.m.
  • Concert is part of BMCC TPAC Lost Jazz Shrines series at 199 Chambers Street
  • Tickets are $30 for the concert, $20 for seniors and students

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