James Carter: The Legacy of Don Byas

Video interview with the prodigious saxophonist during the 2015 Newport Jazz Festival

Ben Sidran and James Carter, Newport Jazz Festival 2015 image 0
John Abbott

Ben Sidran and James Carter, Newport Jazz Festival 2015

During the 2015 Newport Jazz Festival, JazzTimes set up a make-shift video production studio backstage inside the old barracks of Fort Adams. During three afternoons, a succession of artists-including Mike Stern, Arturo O’Farrill, Fred Hersch, Chris Dingman, Kate McGarry, Billy Childs and many others-came in to talk about the festival, jazz education, their creative process and their own projects. You can also see more of these video interviews at the JazzTimes YouTube channel.

In this interview from Newport, saxophonist James Carter talked about his own musical development, growing up in Detroit, and about several of his mentors. He shared some of the music he’s rediscovered, including significantly the unique legacy of Don Byas. Carter explained his deep musical and spiritual connection to Byas and how he ended up with one of Byas’ saxophones.

Interview by Irene Lee. Video production by Paul Park. Editing by Lee Mergner.

James Carter on his musical upbringing in Detroit:


James Carter on Illinois Jacquet and more:


James Carter on his own album projects:


James Carter on Don Byas: