Charlie Barnet

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", "In a Mizz", and "Southland Shuffle".

Barnet was born in New York City.[1] 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.[2]

Barnet attended 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]:7-10 Although his family wanted him to become a lawyer, he chose to be a musician instead.

By sixteen, Barnet had played on tours with Jean Goldkette satellite band and was in New York, where he joined Frank Winegar's Pennsylvania Boys on tenor sax. Always restless, by 1931 he had relocated to Hollywood and appeared as a film extra while trying to interest local bandleaders in hot music, which was increasingly unpopular due to the Great Depression. Late in 1932, he returned east and persuaded a contact at CBS' artist bureau to try him out as an orchestra leader. He was 18 years old.

Barnet began recording in October 1933, during an engagement at New York's Park Central Hotel, but was not a great success for most of the 1930s, regularly breaking up his band and changing its style. Early in 1935 he attempted to premiere swing music at New Orleans' Hotel Roosevelt, where Louisiana's colorful Governor Huey Long, disliking the new sound, had the band run out of town by luring them to a bordello, which was then raided. Barnet arranged with Joe Haymes to take several of his now-jobless sidemen, while he himself went on a lark in Havana, as an escort to well-to-do older women. 1936 saw another swinging Barnet edition, which featured the up-and-coming vocal quartet The Modernaires but quickly faded from the scene.

The height of Barnet's popularity—and his first truly permanent band—came 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, Neal Hefti, Lena Horne, Barney Kessel, Dodo Marmorosa, Oscar Pettiford, and Art House, while later versions of the band included Maynard Ferguson, Doc Severinsen, Jimmy Knepper and Clark Terry. Trumpeter Billy May was an arranger in the Charlie Barnet Orchestra before joining Glenn Miller in 1940.