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Charlie Barnet

Charlie Barnett in The Fabulous Dorseys (1947).
Background information
Birth name Charles Daly Barnet
Born October 26, 1913(1913-10-26)
Origin New York City, U.S.
Died September 4, 1991 (aged 77)
Genres Swing, Big band
Occupations Bandleader, Saxophonist, Composer
Instruments Saxophone
Years active 1935/37 - 1949
Associated acts Buddy DeFranco, Roy Eldridge, Neal Hefti
For other persons with this name, see Charlie Barnett.

Charles Daly Barnet (October 26, 1913 – September 4, 1991) was an American jazz saxophonist, composer, and bandleader.

His major recordings were "Skyliner", "Cherokee", "The Wrong Idea", "Scotch and Soda", and "Southland Shuffle".


Early life

Charlie Barnet was born in New York City. His parents divorced when he was two, and he was raised by his mother and her grandparents. His grandfather was Charles Frederick Daly, a vice-president for the New York Central Railroad, banker, and businessman.[1]

Barnet attended various boarding schools, both in the New York and Chicago areas. He learned to play piano and saxophone as a child. He often left school to listen to music and to try to gain work as a musician.[2]


Although he began his recording career in October, 1933, Charlie Barnet was at the height of his popularity between 1939 and 1941, a period that began with his hit version of "Cherokee", written by Ray Noble and arranged by Billy May. In 1944, Barnet had another big hit with "Skyliner". In 1947, he started to switch from swing music to bebop. During his swing period his band included Buddy DeFranco, Roy Eldridge, Neal Hefti, Lena Horne, Barney Kessel, Dodo Marmorosa, Oscar Pettiford, and Art House, while later versions of the band included Maynard Ferguson, Doc Severinsen, and Clark Terry. Trumpeter Billy May was an arranger in the Charlie Barnet Orchestra before joining Glenn Miller in 1940.

He was one of the first bandleaders to integrate his band; the year is variously given as 1935 or 1937. He was an outspoken admirer of Count Basie and Duke Ellington. In 1939, Basie once lent Barnet his charts after Barnet's had been destroyed in a fire at the Palomar Hotel in Los Angeles. Throughout his career he was an opponent of syrupy arrangements. In the song "The Wrong Idea", he lampooned the "sweet" Big Band sound of the era.

In 1949 he retired, apparently because he had lost interest in music. He was able to retire when he chose because he was one of the few heirs in a very wealthy family. He occasionally returned from retirement for brief tours but never returned to music full time.


Charlie Barnet's compositions included "Skyliner", "Southland Shuffle", "Swing Street Strut", "The Right Idea", "The Wrong Idea" with Billy May, "Growlin'", "Scotch and Soda", "Midweek Function", "Oh What You Said (Are We Burnt Up?)", "I Kinda Like You", "Tappin' at the Tappa", "The Last Jump", "Knocking at the Famous Door", "Lazy Bug" with Juan Tizol, and "Ogoun Badagris (Voodoo War God)".


In 1984, Charlie Barnet was inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame.


  1. ^ Barnet, Charlie (1984). Those Swinging Years. Da Capo. pp. 1–3. ISBN 0306804921.  
  2. ^ Barnet, 7-10.

External links



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