||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2012)|
|Birth name||Charnett Moffett|
|Born||June 10, 1967|
|Origin||New York, New York, USA|
|Labels||Blue Note, Manhattan, Evidence, Piadrum, Motéma Music|
Moffett's given name was created as a combination of that of his father (Charles Moffett, the jazz drummer) and that of Ornette Coleman (the jazz saxophonist). As a teenager Moffett played in his father's band, but by the mid-1980s he had begun to create a reputation playing with Wynton Marsalis and Branford Marsalis. This led to a career as a freelance bassist, and he has performed and recorded with a long string of musicians, including Stanley Jordan, Harry Connick, Jr., Ornette Coleman, McCoy Tyner, Kenny Garrett, Mulgrew Miller, Courtney Pine, Arturo Sandoval, Lew Soloff, Sonny Sharrock, Art Blakey, Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Henderson, Herbie Hancock, Pharoah Sanders, Sonny Sharrock, Frank Lowe, Ellis Marsalis, Wallace Roney, Dianne Reeves, Kenny Kirkland, David Sanchez, Babatunde Lea, Arturo Sandoval, Alex Bugnon, Kevin Eubanks, Jana Herzen and David Sanborn. He has also played and recorded as a leader. He is a former member of the Manhattan Jazz Quintet. He is currently a member of Melody Gardot's band.
Early life and career
Charnett attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in New York City and later studied at Mannes College of Music and the Juilliard School of Music. In 1983, he played on saxophonist Branford Marsalis' debut as a leader, Scenes in the City, and the following year he joined trumpeter Wynton Marsalis’ quintet, appearing on 1985's acclaimed Black Codes (From the Underground). During the 1980s, he also worked with Stanley Jordan, appearing on the innovative guitarist's best-selling 1985 Blue Note debut, Magic Touch, as well as two Blue Note albums with the late, great legendary drummer Tony Williams’ quintet: 1987's Civilization and 1988's Angel Street. In 1987, Moffett signed with Blue Note Records and debuted as a leader that year with his first of three albums for Blue Note, Beauty Within, which featured his father Charles Moffett on drums, older brothers Codaryl Moffett on drums and Mondre Moffett on trumpet, Kenny Garrett on alto saxophone, and Stanley Jordan on guitar.
In 1993, Charnett recorded Rhythm & Blood for Sweet Basil's Apollon Records. A mix of jazz and pop, it placed high on the music charts in Japan. Moffett later scored artistic triumphs on the Evidence label with 1994's Planet Home (featuring his electronically enhanced rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" in tribute to Jimi Hendrix's Woodstock showstopper) and 1997's Still Life featuring keyboardist Rachel Z and drummer Cindy Blackman. In 1996, Moffett appeared on two simultaneous releases by Ornette Coleman's Sound Museum: Hidden Man and Sound Museum: Three Women. Another 1997 recording, Acoustic Trio for Teichiku Records, showcased Charnett's acoustic bass playing. Three other '90s recordings for the Sweet Basil/Evidence label were done under the collective name of General Music Project (with saxophonist Kenny Garrett, pianists Geri Allen and Cyrus Chestnut, and Charles Moffett Sr, his father, who died before the group could tour together). Another Charnett recording from 1995, Moffett & Sons, is a collaboration with his father. In 2001, Charnett released a potent tribute to the late Jaco Pastorius entitled Mr. P, a trio recording with pianist Mulgrew Miller and drummer Lewis Nash. Charnett has also performed on various movie soundtracks, including acclaimed ensemble cast pictures Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) and The Visit (2001), and was a featured soloist for The Score (starring Robert De Niro and Marlon Brando).
2008 to present
In 2008 Charnett signed with Motéma Music releasing The Art of Improvisation in May 2009 and Treasure in June 2010. The Art of Improvisation was Charnett's Motema debut (and his eight recording as a leader), overdubbing electric bass guitar, piccolo bass and acoustic upright bass. Joined by drummers Will Calhoun and Eric McPherson and Tibetan vocalist Yungchen Lhamo, the release references Asian and Middle Eastern influences.
Treasure, while sharing some of the Asian and Middle Eastern influences of The Art of Improvisation, has an emphasis on the swing and pulse for which Moffett has become known. The release, while Charnett's second on Motema, marked his eleventh as a leader. Once again on Treasure, Charnett uses his three-pointed bass method to express his distinct musicality: his upright acoustic bass, his fretless electric bass and his electric piccolo bass. The Making of Treasure, a documentary directed and narrated by Charnett, is included as enhanced content on the CD. Treasure was also released by King Records in Japan and by Membran International in the EU.
Charnett worked with Jana Herzen on her sophomore release Passion of A Lonely Heart (October 2012), playing the upright bass and electric bass.
Charnett is scheduled to release a third recording on Motema Music early in 2013.
- 1987: Net Man (Blue Note)
- 1989: Beauty Within (Blue Note)
- 1991: Nettwork (Manhattan )
- 1993: Rhythm & Blood "Unity" (Teichiku)
- 1994: Planet Home (Evidence)
- 1996: Still Life (Evidence)
- 1998: Acoustic Trio (Teichiku)
- 2004: For the Love of Peace (Piadrum)
- 2006: Internet (Piadrum)
- 2009: The Art of Improvisation (Motéma Music)
- 2010: Treasure (Motéma Music)
With Ornette Coleman
- Sound Museum: Hidden Man (Harmolodic/Verve, 1996)
- Sound Museum: Three Women (Harmolodic/Verve, 1996)
With Frank Lowe
- Decision in Paradise (Soul Note, 1984)
With Sonny Sharrock
- Ask the Ages (Axiom, 1991)