Bobby Hackett
Hackett performs at the Paramount Theatre in New York City in August 1946.
Hackett performs at the Paramount Theatre in New York City in August 1946.
Background information
Born(1915-01-31)January 31, 1915
Providence, Rhode Island
DiedJune 7, 1976(1976-06-07) (aged 61)
Chatham, Massachusetts
InstrumentsTrumpet, cornet
Years active1920s–1976
Associated actsLouis Armstrong, Glenn Miller, Tony Bennett, Benny Goodman, Ray McKinley, Jackie Gleason, Jack Teagarden, Pee Wee Russell, Lee Wiley, Horace Heidt,
Ernie Caceres, Bobby Hackett, Freddie Ohms, and George Wettling, Nick's, New York City, 1940s
Photography by William P. Gottlieb

Robert Leo Hackett (January 31, 1915[1] – June 7, 1976)[2] was an American jazz musician who played trumpet, cornet, and guitar with the bands of Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Hackett was a featured soloist on some of the Jackie Gleason mood music albums during the 1950s.[3]


Hackett was born in Providence, Rhode Island, United States.[2] He made his name as a follower of cornet player Bix Beiderbecke.[4] Benny Goodman hired the talented 23 year old to recreate Bix's "I'm Coming Virginia" solo at his (Goodman's) 1938 Carnegie Hall concert.[2] In the late 1930s, Hackett played lead trumpet in the Vic Schoen Orchestra which backed the Andrews Sisters. Hackett can be heard on the soundtrack to the 1940 Fred Astaire movie, Second Chorus.

In 1939, the talent agency MCA asked Hackett to form a big band with its backing. When the band failed, he was in substantial debt to MCA after it folded. He joined the bands of Horace Heidt and then Glenn Miller to pay this debt.[3] 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 offered him a job as a guitarist. "When I joined the band and I was making good money at last, [...] [jazz critics] accused me of selling out. Hell I wasn't selling out, I was selling in! It's funny, isn't it, how you go right into the wastebasket with some critics the minute you become successful."[5]

Despite lip problems, Hackett could play occasional, short solos, and he can be heard playing with the Glenn Miller Orchestra on "A String of Pearls".[2][6] A dream come true for Hackett was his inclusion in Louis Armstrong's 1947 Town Hall Jazz Concert.[3] In 1954, he appeared as a regular on the ABC variety show The Martha Wright Show, also known as The Packard Showroom.[7]

His profile increased after he was hired by Jackie Gleason as a cornet soloist, for some of Gleason's earliest mood music albums.[3] Beginning in 1952, he appeared on Gleason's first Capitol Records album, Music for Lovers Only. The record — as well as all of Gleason's next 10 albums — went gold. He appeared on six more of Gleason's albums. This association led directly to his signing with Capitol.

Mosaic Records released The Complete Capitol Bobby Hackett Solo Sessions on a five-CD limited edition set.[8] Most of the tracks were from Gleason's mood music albums. According to the liner notes, Hackett received compensation of between $30 to $40 thousand for six albums for Gleason.

In 1965, he toured with the singer Tony Bennett.[2] In 1966 and 1967, he accompanied Bennett on two European tours.[2] In the early 1970s, he performed separately with Dizzy Gillespie[9] and Teresa Brewer.[2]

In 2012, Hackett was selected to be inducted into the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame.[10]

Personal life

Bobby Hackett married Edna Lillian Lee Hackett (d.2000) in 1937. The Hacketts lived primarily in New York City and spent summers in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. They had a daughter, Barbara (d. 2003); and a son, Ernie, who became a professional drummer.

Hackett was a Freemason and was active with St. Cecile Lodge #568, a lodge specifically for musicians and artists.[11][12]

Hackett died in 1976 of a heart attack at the age of 61.[13]


As leader

  • Soft Lights and Bobby Hackett (Capitol, 1954)
  • In a Mellow Mood (Capitol, 1955)
  • Coast Concert (Capitol, 1956)
  • Gotham Jazz Scene (Capitol, 1957)
  • Rendezvous (Capitol, 1957)
  • Bobby Hackett At The Embers (Capitol, 1958)
  • Don't Take Your Love from Me (Capitol, 1958)
  • Jazz Ultimate (Capitol, 1958)
  • The Bobby Hackett Quartet (Capitol, 1959)
  • Blues with a Kick (Capitol, 1959)
  • Hawaii Swings (Capitol, 1960)
  • Dream Awhile (Columbia, 1960)
  • The Most Beautiful Horn in the World (Columbia, 1962)
  • Night Love (Columbia, 1962)
  • Bobby Hackett Plays Henry Mancini (Epic, 1962)
  • Plays the Music of Bert Kaempfert (Epic, 1964)
  • Hello Louis!: Plays the Music of Louis Armstrong (Epic, 1964)
  • Trumpets' Greatest Hits (Epic, 1965)
  • Trumpet de Luxe (CBS, 1966)
  • Creole Cookin (Verve, 1967)
  • That Midnight Touch (Project 3, 1967)
  • A Time for Love (Project 3, 1967)
  • Bobby/Billy/Brazil (Verve, 1968)
  • This Is My Bag (Project 3, 1969)
  • Live at the Roosevelt Grill (Chiaroscuro, 1970)
  • Bobby Hackett and Vic Dickenson at the Royal Box (Hyannisport, 1972)
  • What a Wonderful World (Flying Dutchman, 1973)
  • Strike Up the Band (Flying Dutchman, 1975)
  • Live in New Orleans (Riff, 1976)
  • Featuring Vic Dickenson at the Roosevelt Grill (Chiaroscuro, 1977)
  • Tin Roof Blues (Honey Dew, 1977)
  • Butterfly Airs Vol. 1 (Honey Dew, 1977)
  • Jazz Session (CBS, 1980)

As sideman

With Jackie Gleason

  • Music for Lovers Only (Capitol, 1952)
  • Music to Make You Misty (Capitol, 1953)
  • Music, Martinis, and Memories (Capitol, 1954)
  • Jackie Gleason Presents Autumn Leaves (Capitol, 1955)
  • Music to Remember Her (Capitol, 1955)
  • Music to Change Her Mind (Capitol, 1956)
  • Jackie Gleason Presents Music for the Love Hours (Capitol, 1957)
  • Jackie Gleason Presents Lush Musical Interludes for That Moment (Capitol, 1959)
  • The Most Beautiful Girl in the World (Pickwick/33, 1967)

With others


  1. ^ Martin Williams (1991). Jazz In Its Time. Oxford University Press. p. 87.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Who's Who of Jazz (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 178. ISBN 0-85112-580-8.
  3. ^ a b c d Ciccolo, John (18 October 2000). "Bobby Hackett: Accomplished musician with a beautiful sound". Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  4. ^ Weinstock, Len. "The Birth of the Cool 1927". Archived from the original on 3 January 2011. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  5. ^ Simon, George T. (22 August 1980). Glenn Miller & His Orchestra. Da Capo Press. p. 271. ISBN 978-0-306-80129-7. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  6. ^ "Hackett refers to this solo as 'just a little exercise'" – Glenn Miller and His Orchestra, 269.
  7. ^ McNeil, Alex (1980). Total Television. Penguin Books. p. 639. ISBN 978-0140049114.
  8. ^ "Complete Capitol Bobby Hackett Solo Sessions - Bobby Hackett | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved July 27, 2021.
  9. ^ "Bobby Hackett", Space Age Music Maker, Retrieved on July 29, 2011.
  10. ^ "Hackett, Bobby". Retrieved July 27, 2021.
  11. ^ Refsnes, Hege. "St. Cecile Lodge #568: the Lodge of the Arts". Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  12. ^ ""Craft Masonry in Manhattan, New York County, New York"" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-07-18. Retrieved 2014-05-24.
  13. ^ Wilson, John S. (June 8, 1976). "Bobby Hackett, the Cornetist, Dies at 61". Retrieved July 27, 2021.

External links

Further reading

  • Hulme, George and Whyatt, Bert. Bobby Hackett: His Life in Music, Hardinge Simpole, 2015. ISBN 9781843822226. 2016