But Then, She's Betty Carter (1981)

Genres - Music, History  |   Sub-Genres - Biography, Social History, Race & Ethnicity  |   Run Time - 53 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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A documentary on the life and music of Betty Carter, But Then, She's Betty Carter has everything going for it in the talent of the black jazz vocalist herself. She not only is an accomplished singer, she had the wisdom and perseverance to stay with her vision of herself in the face of both gender and racial prejudice, which always cuts to the pocketbook as well as the heart. She says, "Getting someone to understand what kind of business you're in, what you have to do to stay in it, and what it means to you....I think that's very hard for men to accept." A sign of Carter's wisdom and patience is that most gifted women who suffered as she did would have said the same thing in scathing terms. Carter was discovered by Lionel Hampton when he and his band were in Detroit (his band included Charlie Mingus and Wes Montgomery at the time). She was standing up watching the band, scatting along with the music, and more than ready to jump in and begin her career "big time." Yet the future was to bring her problems with major record companies and undeserved obscurity because she held to her ideals of doing something more with her talent. This documentary highlights her 30-year career with the music she sings, still photographs of herself and other jazz musicians, and reminiscences shared with friends like Lionel Hampton.



jazz, music, performer, singer