Jazzmen Bobby Hackett and Bubba Kolb at the Village Jazz Lounge in Walt Disney World (photo by Laura Kolb)
|Birth name||Robert Leo Hackett|
|Born||January 31, 1915
Providence, Rhode Island
|Instruments||Trumpet, Cornet, Guitar|
|Labels||Storyville, Project 3 records, ADD, Classics, Segal Enterprices, DBK Jazz|
Hackett was born in Providence, Rhode Island. He made his name as a follower of the legendary cornet player Bix Beiderbecke: Benny Goodman hired him to recreate Bix's famous "I'm Coming Virginia" solo at his (Goodman's) 1938 Carnegie Hall concert. It seems that from then on, Hackett was determined to shake off the "new Bix" tag, and always proclaimed that he was a "Louis (Armstrong) man." A dream come true for Hackett was his inclusion in Louis Armstrong's 1947 Town Hall Jazz Concert.
He was in considerable debt and difficulties by the early 1940s, following the commercial failure of his big band. To make matters worse, his lip was in bad shape after dental surgery, making it difficult for him to play the trumpet or cornet. Glenn Miller came to Hackett's rescue, offering him a job as a guitarist with the Miller Band. Despite his lip problems, Hackett could still play occasional — beautiful — short solos, and he can be heard playing a famous one with the Glenn Miller Orchestra on "A String of Pearls." His lip must have recovered because, during the 1950s, he made a series of albums of ballads with a full string orchestra, supposedly conducted by Jackie Gleason, exhibiting a gorgeous, dreamy, vibrato-free sound. When asked by musician/journalist Harry Currie in Toronto just weeks before Hackett's death what Gleason really did at the recording session, Hackett replied "He brought the cheques." In his later years, he continued to perform in a dixieland style even as trends in jazz changed. Bobby Hackett was a big fan of Louis Armstrong, although he played in a style more reminiscent of Bix Beiderbecke. Bobby Hackett died June 7, 1976 from a heart attack.
With George Wein