Full Name: William Thomas Betts

Description: Double bassist, US

Known For: His most notable composition is the sweet and tender “Pinky

Instruments: Double bass

Music Styles: Jazz

Location: United States of America

Date Born: 25th July 1928
Location Born: Port Chester, New York, United States of America

Date Died: 6th August 2005
Location Died: Washinton, District of Columbia, United States of America

Web Site:  Keter Betts playing Blue Bossa

Other Links: See below:



Keter Betts

An American jazz double bassist. Born William Thomas Betts in Port Chester, New York, he was nicknamed “Keter”, a short form of the word mosquito.

Many better-known musicians (Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, Nat Adderley, Stan Getz, Charlie Byrd, etc.), recognizing Keter’s talent, invited him to perform with them professionally.

Early in Keter’s career he had played with Earl Bostic’s R&B band. In 1962, together with Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd, he was instrumental in introducing the bossa nova style to American audiences via their Jazz Samba recording.

In the mid-1960s, Keter began a nearly quarter-century relationship as a bassist with Ella Fitzgerald.

Keter Betts resided in the Washington, DC, area for more than a half century. He died at his home in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Selected discography

With Clifford Brown
Jam Session (EmArcy, 1954) – with Maynard Ferguson and Clark Terry

With Charlie Byrd
Blues for Night People (1957)
Byrd’s Word! (Riverside, 1958)
Byrd in the Wind (Riverside, 1959)
Mr. Guitar (Riverside, 1960)
The Guitar Artistry of Charlie Byrd (Riverside, 1960)
Charlie Byrd at the Village Vanguard (Riverside, 1961)
Blues Sonata (Riverside, 1961)
Jazz Samba (Verve, 1962) – with Stan Getz
Latin Impressions (Riverside, 1962)
Bossa Nova Pelos Passaros (Riverside, 1962)
Once More! Charlie Byrd’s Bossa Nova (Riverside, 1963)
Byrd at the Gate (Riverside, 1963)
Byrd Song (Riverside, 1964)

With Ella Fitzgerald
Ella in Hamburg (Verve, live, 1965)
Ella Loves Cole (Atlantic, 1972)
Ella in London (Pablo, live, 1974)
Montreux ’75 (Pablo, live, 1975)
Montreux ’77 (Ella Fitzgerald album) (Pablo, live, 1977)
Digital III at Montreux (Pablo, live, 1979)
A Perfect Match (Ella Fitzgerald album) (Pablo, 1979)
Jazz at the Philharmonic – Yoyogi National Stadium, Tokyo 1983: Return to Happiness (Pablo, live, 1983)

With Tommy Flanagan
The Tommy Flanagan Tokyo Recital (Pablo, 1975)
Something Borrowed, Something Blue (1978)

With Sam Jones
The Soul Society (Riverside, 1960)
The Chant (Riverside, 1961)

With Junior Mance
Blue Mance (Chiaroscuro, 1994)
The Floating Jazz Festival Trio (Chiaroscuro, 1995)
The FJF Trio with Joe Temperley (Chiaroscuro, 1996)
The Floating Jazz Festival Trio (Chiaroscuro, 1997)
The Floating Jazz Festival Trio (Chiaroscuro, 1998)
A Chiaroscuro Christmas (Chiaroscuro)

With Helen Merrill
The Artistry of Helen Merrill (Mainstream, 1965)

With Bobby Timmons
Chun-King (Prestige, 1964)
Workin’ Out! (Prestige, 1964)

With Louie Bellson
Salute (Chiaroscuro, 1994)

With Johnny Frigo, Herb Ellis and Lou Carter
The Soft Winds, Then and Now (Chiaroscuro, 1996)

With Jay McShann
Hootie (Chiaroscuro, 1997)

With Red Holloway, O. C. Smith and Phil Upchurch
Standing Room Only (Chiaroscuro, 1998)

With C. I. Williams
When Alto Was King (Mapleshade, 1997)


1.^ Jump up to: a b c “Jazz Bassist Keter Betts Dies at 77”

Washington Post. August 8, 2005. Retrieved January 18, 2011.
2.^ Jump up to: a b “Keter Betts, 77, Jazz Bassist Who Spread the Bossa Nova, Is Dead”

The New York Times. August 22, 2005. Retrieved January 18, 2011.