NOTE: this information was for the last Tribute concert we produced, but shows how a future event can be promoted.  The site still contains useful information about Bobby and his recordings.

Bobby Hackett Recordings
A partial guide to CD’s and Records

Compact Discs
There are many online sources for these CD’s, including Amazon.com, CDuniverse.com, and others indicated below for particularly hard-to-find CD’s. Please note that I do not personally sell CD’s or records.

Mosaic records has released a limited edition 5 CD set:
The Complete Capitol Bobby Hackett Solo Sessions. This set contains all ten of the albums Bobby made for Capitol under his own name, plus a few previously unreleased selections. The only two significant Capitol LP's not included are Jazz Ultimate and Coast concert, which were already available (see below). The boxed set comes with booklet containing rare photos and extensive liner notes on Bobby's career and on the specific albums. This is a tremendous bargain at $80.00 suggested retail, especially when you consider that many of these albums are unlikely to ever be re-released on CD apart from this set.

Collector's Choice Music has recently re-issued many of Bobby’s long out-of-print Capital and Epic LP's on two-album "Double CD's".

Jazz Ultimate / Coast Concert
Many Hackett fanatics name these two albums as their all-time favorites. These are what Bobby preferred to call "Chicago Style" (but most call Dixieland).

Soft Lights / In A Mellow Mood
The first is one of my top favorites – Bobby swings in front of a string quintet (four violas and a cello) plus rhythm section. Anybody who says "strings can't swing" hasn't heard this 1953 album which has some of Bobby's most tasteful playing. The latter album is "mood music" but with a stringless, woodwind-heavy backup. Also great playing.

The Most Beautiful Horn in the World/Night Love
The first album is one of two Bobby recorded with a theater organ in lieu of strings (his Capitol contract prevented him from doing so for a few years after switching to Columbia).  The quality of his ballad playing is unsurpassed on this -- whether you like the organ or not!  Night Love is mood music based on familiar classical themes, well done of course, but not my favorite.

PLUS SEVERAL OTHERS -- CHECK THEM OUT!

Bixieland (1955): This Columbia LP was issued under leader Eddie Condon's name. Don't look for Bobby's name on the album notes – he was under contract to Capitol as the time, and is listed as "Pete Pesci"! Bobby plays trumpet on this album, and his solo on "I'm Coming Virginia" is legendary! Cornetist "Wild Bill Davison" also appears. I’ve just found out this has been re-issued to CD and is available at www.oldies.com . Many other CD’s by Bobby are available there as well.

Bobby Hackett and his 1939 Orchestra
Several CD’s reunite the Vocalion 78 single sides from Bobby’s celebrated, yet short-lived big band.  Nearly any of these will contain Bobby’s legendary theme song peformance of “Embraceable You.”

For Lovers Only
This is a three-CD collection of recordings which were released under comedian Jackie Gleason's name beginning in the early 50's. But Jackie had very little to do with them beyond hiring Bobby Hackett and paying for the initial sessions out of his own pocket. Bobby not only provides the gorgeous solos, but evidently hired the arrangers and often conducted the sessions as well. They are perhaps the classiest mood music albums ever, and have been continuously in-print for more than 50 years! Even today, these recordings appear in major motion pictures, such as "L.A. Confidential" – so strongly are they associated with the 1950's.

Most of Bobby’s Epic recordings from the 1960’s
These albums were always built around a theme, and included:

Plays the Music of Henry Mancini (1963)
Jazz Impressions of Lionel Bart's "Oliver" (1963)
Plays the Music of Louis Armstrong ( 1963)
Trumpet's Greatest Hits ( 1965)
Glenn Miller Time 1965 (1965) With the Glenn Miller Orchestra
A String Of Pearl's (1965) Songs made popular by Glenn Miller
Plays the Music of Tony Bennett (1966)
Plays the Music of Bert Kaempfert (1963)

Released with two LPs to a single CD, these are a great value. Styles range from jazz to mood music.

Music ‘Til Dawn
Contains selections from Dream Awhile (1960) and The Most Beautiful Horn in the World (1961): These two Columbia LP's were made right after Bobby left Capitol – due to the overwhelming success of Hackett's "Gleason" recordings backed up by a "sea of strings", Capitol had made Bobby sign a contract which prevented him from recording in a similar setting for a period of several years after he switched to Columbia! As a result, Bobby experimented with a backdrop provided by a massive theater organ! Many fans have since overlooked these albums as a result. While the organ may take a little getting used to, Bobby's ballad playing is unsurpassed.  This CD is very hard to find -- it appear to be available at
www.goodmusicgroup.com. Buy it while you can!

Live Recordings
Many live recordings are available of Bobby’s small groups from the early 50’s into the early 70’s. These range greatly in recording quality and performance (as some are outright bootlegs) and should be approached with some caution. Therefore, I hesitate to make any recommendations.



Out-Of-Print LP Record Albums
As many CD’s are available, there are still many wonderful Hackett albums which are only available as 33 1/3 LP records. Easily the best source for long out-of-print Hackett LP's is the online auction service Ebay. Many great Hackett albums, in excellent condition can be had by meeting the opening bid.
www.Ebay.com

Selected Bobby Hackett Discography
Following are a few of my personal favorite Bobby Hackett albums. This is by no means a comprehensive list. It may help you out if you are trying to choose between several albums.

1) Jazz Ultimate (1957): the best "Chicago Style" (Dixieland) album Bobby made, plus his friend Jack Teagarden joins in. While Bobby primarily played cornet, he played trumpet more often than some of his fans might like to admit, and does so on this album. (presently available on CD, see above)

2) Soft Lights & Bobby Hackett (1953): Bobby swings with a string quintet comprised of four violas and a cello! Tasteful playing, and not a very well known album. Originally a 10" LP, later four more cuts were produced to expand it to a 12" LP. (presently available on CD, see above)

3) Creole Cookin' (1967): A Hackett must-have – this Verve LP features the arrangements and clarinet/soprano sax playing of Bob Wilbur. Bobby is backed up by a modern big band consisting of a dozen top NYC session men, and his playing has never been better. The recording quality is first-rate – but note that the record was released in mono and stereo versions. Hold out for the latter if you can, and listen with headphones! I hope this somewhat obscure LP is released to CD someday. For now, Ebay is probably your best opportunity to find a copy, as with any other Hackett record album.

4) At The Embers (1958), The Bobby Hackett Quartet (1959), Easy Beat (1959): This trio of Capitol LP's featured Bobby's mature mainstream quartet sound; not a trace of Dixieland. In fact, "The Bobby Hackett Quartet" is just a step away from being progressive! All are contained in the Mosaic set.

5) Dream Awhile (1960), The Most Beautiful Horn in the World (NOW ON CD!!) (1961): These two Columbia LP's were made right after Bobby left Capitol – due to the overwhelming success of Hackett's "Gleason" recordings backed up by a "sea of strings", Capitol had made Bobby sign a contract which prevented him from recording in a similar setting for a period of several years after he switched to Columbia! As a result, Bobby experimented with a backdrop provided by a massive theater organ! Many fans have since overlooked these albums as a result. While the organ may take a little getting used to, Bobby's ballad playing is unsurpassed.

6) In the early 1960's, Bobby switched to Epic and made a series of thematic albums. All nicely recorded, they vary in the quality of their "jazz vs. mood music" content. I've listed these in a rough order of personal preference:
Plays the Music of Henry Mancini (1963)
Jazz Impressions of Lionel Bart's "Oliver" (1963)
Plays the Music of Louis Armstrong ( 1963)
Trumpet's Greatest Hits ( 1965)
Glenn Miller Time 1965 (1965) With the Glenn Miller Orchestra
A String Of Pearl's (1965) Songs made popular by Glenn Miller
Plays the Music of Tony Bennett (1966)
Plays the Music of Bert Kaempfert (1963)

7) Bixieland (1955): This Columbia LP was issued under leader Eddie Condon's name. Don't look for Bobby's name on the album notes – he was under contract to Capitol as the time, and is listed as "Pete Pesci"! Bobby plays trumpet on this album, and his solo on "I'm Coming Virginia" is legendary! Cornetist "Wild Bill Davison" also appears.

8) Bobby / Billy / Brazil (1968): The Verve LP was the result of a long friendship between Bobby Hackett and trumpeter Billy Butterfield, who, in their early careers, were vitually indistinguishable (as pointed out by Richard Sudhalter in “Lost Chords”) – although by this time their individual styles had evolved to become uniquely their own.  All of the selections are rendered in bossa nova style, quite popular in the 60’s.  One of my father’s favorite Hackett albums.

9) This is My Bag (1968): Bobby’s longtime co-performer (and close friend) was trombonist Vic Dickenson.  Most of the recordings left of this collaboration are live performances of varying quality (as noted above).  But in 1968 they went into the Project 3 studios to lay down these tracks; beautifully recorded.  My favorite tracks are the BH ballads – Bobby is at the height of his phrasing and tone and his rhythm section modern and tasteful.

10) Jazz Session (1950): Originally release as a 78 rpm album, as well as 10” LP, this small group session is well-recorded and shows Bobby’s rapidly evolving style, especially with ballads – soon to become his hallmark. Also available as part of a Mosaic “Condon Mob Sessions” CD set.

 

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