Tenor saxophonist. Carter Randolph Jefferson, Jr. was born November 30, 1945 in Washington, D.C.; died December 10, 1993 in Krakow, Poland.
Jefferson came from a musical family and began studying clarinet at age 11, soon moving to alto saxophone. He attended Cardozo High School and was playing professionally from age 15, working with rhythm-and-blues groups including that of Ike and Tina Turner.
He served in the U.S. Army from 1966 to 1968. After his discharge he enrolled at New York University and began making contacts in the New York jazz scene including Kenny Dorham, Lee Morgan, Jimmy Heath, and Rene McLean.
He worked with Mongo Santamaria in 1971 and 1972 and the group’s appearance at the Montreux Jazz Festival was issued by Atlantic Records. Following this, Jefferson was a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers in 1973 and 1974, touring Europe and Japan.
In 1976 he worked with drummer Norman Connors before joining Woody Shaw’s quintet the following year. With Shaw, Jefferson participated in four albums recorded for Columbia Records at the peak of the trumpeter’s career (1977-1980), and additional live recordings have been issued subsequently. During this period he recorded his only album as a leader, The Rise of Atlantis (Timeless). After leaving Shaw, he worked with Elvin Jones in 1981.
In the 1980s and 1990s he recorded several albums each with trumpeters Barbara Donald, Malachi Thompson, and Jack Walrath and was a member of the Fort Apache Band led by Jerry Gonzalez. He also recorded and performed as a member of Nasar Abadey’s Supernova. In the Washington area he occasionally led his own ensembles at One Step Down, dc space, and Blues Alley.
Jefferson suffered from cirrhosis of the liver and died while on tour in Europe.