By the early 1930s he and Johnny Hodges were considered the leading alto players of the day. In February 1990 Carter led an all-star big band at the Lincoln Center in a concert tribute to Ella Fitzgerald. He also arranged for Duke Ellington during these years.
In 2000 awarded the National Endowment for the Arts National Medal of Arts presented by President Bill Clinton. The National Endowment for the Arts honored Benny Carter with its highest honor in jazz the NEA Jazz Masters Award for 1986. Bennett Lester Carter (August 8 1907 – July 12 2003) was an American jazz alto saxophonist clarinetist trumpeter composer arranger and bandleader.