James Carter plays his tenor sax as a member of the "New York All Star Sextet" at the Fujitsu Concord Jazz Festival in 1997.
James Larry Carter was born in Detroit, Michigan, on January 3, 1969. He learned to play under the tutelage of Donald Washington, becoming a member of his youth jazz ensemble Bird-Trane-Sco-NOW!! On May 31, 1988, at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), Carter was a last-minute addition for guest artist Lester Bowie which turned into an invitation to play with his new quintet (forerunner of his New York Organ Ensemble) in New York that following November at the now defunct Carlos 1 jazz club. This NY invite was pivotal in Carter's career, putting him in musical contact with the world and he moved to New York two years later. He has been prominent as a performer and recording artist on the jazz scene since the late 1980s, playing saxophones, flute, and clarinets. As a young man, he attended Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, becoming the youngest faculty member at the camp. He first toured Europe (Scandinavia) with the International Jazz Band in 1985 at the age of 16. On his album Chasin' the Gypsy (2000), he recorded with his cousin Regina Carter, a jazz violinist.
*James Carter has won the Critic's and Reader's Choice award for baritone saxophone several years in a row from Down Beat magazine.
*Carter is an authority on vintage horns, of which he owns an extensive collection.