Robert Sherwood Haggart (March 13, 1914, New York City – December 2, 1998, Venice, Florida) was a dixieland jazz double bass player, composer and arranger. Although he is associated with dixieland he was in fact one of the finest rhythm bassists of the Swing Era.
Haggart was a founder-member of the Bob Crosby Band (1935), arranging and part-composing several of the band's big successes, including "What's New?", "South Rampart Street Parade", "My Inspiration", and "Big Noise from Winnetka".
He remained with the band until 1942. He then worked as a studio musician in New York and recorded with Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman and Ella Fitzgerald; his arrangements can be heard on Ella's Decca release "Lullabies of Birdland". During the 1950s, Haggart organised, with Yank Lawson, a regular series of small band recordings and also arranged many of the tunes for Louis Armstrong's 1956-7 four-volume LP recreation set.[clarification needed]
Bob Crosby also used this ensemble as the core of many groups, including the band that recorded Haggart's arrangement of Porgy and Bess (1958). During the late 1960s he played frequently in bands organised by Bob Crosby.
He co-led, with Yank Lawson, The World's Greatest Jazz Band (1968–1978). From 1978 until shortly before his death, Haggart worked with own groups or as a free-lance musician in several jazz groups and toured all over the world. He wrote a tutor for double bass which has become a standard text.
He approved Catherine O'Brien's lyrics to his compositions "I'm Free" being his original title of "What's New?", and "My Inspiration".
With Randy Sandke
- The Music of Bob Haggart Featuring His Porgy and Bess Arrangements track 17 only (Arbors Records)
- Kragting, Ben. "Bob Haggart Interview" in Doctor Jazz Magazine 145 (1994), p. 10-13 (part 1) / Doctor Jazz Magazine 146 (1994), p. 10-15. (part 2) (Note: This is a Dutch jazz magazine, but the interview has been published in English)
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