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Bennie Carew

Bennie Carew (Drums) (RIP: June 8, 1982)

Bennie was one of the most popular jazz musicians around Grand Rapids. In the late 1930s he played at Club Indigo (Roma Hall) on the north-east corner of Franklin and Division.

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3 Responses to Bennie Carew

  1. Robert Wheeler says:

    I worked at the Park Place Motor Inn in Traverse City, Michigan during the 1970’s and 1980’s as a office worker.
    Several times during that period Bennie and his trio played his gig at the Park Place.
    My wife and I became very good friends with Bennie and attended his performances several times.
    He and his trio were “A-1” when it came to entertainers.
    Two of the most memorable songs I remember were Satin Doll and the Banana Boat Song.
    Bennie would finish his previous song…then pause about 15 to 20 seconds then all of a sudden–out of his vocal chords would come the “Deh-Yo”–just about as loud as he could say it. And then he would start the Banana Boat Song in his own special version.
    What a musician!!!!!!! And a very good friend.
    Robert Wheeler
    Traverse City, MI.

  2. Karla R.Hollingsworth says:

    Mr. Benjamin (Bennie) Carew was my beloved great uncle of whom was a local pop jazz musician and singing artist. The song “Kansas City,” recorded at this studio, was one of many recordings he and his trio made within the greater Grand Rapids area. Mr. Carew was a popular entertainer for more than four decades. He was known for a low-key performing style. He was born in Staples, Minnesota, and as a youngster moved to Grand Haven, MI. At the age of 12 he began playing drums. He first became know to local jazz enthusiasts in 1938 when he began playing lounges such as the now-defunct Hattem’s, Langdon’s, Club Indigo and Sayfees. Nat King Cole and Eubie Blake would sit in on Mr. Carew’s shows numerous times.
    In the early 1940s Mr. Carew left Grand Rapids to work on the road, performing over the years with such jazz greats as Lionel Hampton and Billy Strayhorn. He summed up his performing philosophy as:”Just give the public good music and they’ll hang around. My forte is related to people. I’m on the stand to make ‘em feel good. They can listen, they can dance. No rush, no hurry. Just a good time.” He died on a Saturday, June 5, 1982 of complications from cancer. He is survived by his only daughter, Ruth Ann LaCour, a grand daughter Challen Joy and a host of nieces and nephews inclusive of this author, Karla R. (Taylor) Hollingsworth of Indianapolis, Indiana.

  3. I knew Bennie when he played at the Parkway Tropics on Lake Michigan Ave.
    I played drums in a duo with Stan Stemp there when Bennie was on break.
    The owners were Ed Sayfee and Randy —–.

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