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Charnett Moffett at Bar55 New York
June 10, 1967|
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Genres||Jazz, world music|
|Labels||Blue Note, Manhattan, Evidence, Piadrum, Motéma|
Charnett Moffett (born June 10, 1967) is an American jazz musician and composer known as an innovator and virtuoso who plays double bass, and fretless bass guitar and piccolo bass, . He currently leads and records and performs with his own bands and also tours and records in a duo capacity with singer, songwriter Jana Herzen.
Moffett started playing bass in the family band, touring the Far East in 1975 at the age of eight. In the mid-1980s he played with Wynton Marsalis and Branford Marsalis. In 1987 he recorded his debut album Netman for Blue Note Records. Since that time he has recorded 13 albums, the five most recent for the multi-Grammy winning Harlem based label, Motema Music. Now focused primarily on his own projects, Moffett is respected as a young jazz legend and has performed and recorded with many top players in jazz including Art Blakey, Ornette Coleman, McCoy Tyner, Wynton Marsalis, Pharoah Sanders, Dizzy Gillespie, Ellis Marsalis, Sonny Sharrock, Stanley Jordan, Wallace Roney. Arturo Sandoval, Courtney Pine, David Sanborn, David Sánchez, Dianne Reeves, Frank Lowe, Harry Connick, Jr., Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, Kenny Garrett, Kenny Kirkland, Kevin Eubanks, Lew Soloff, Manhattan Jazz Quintet, Melody Gardot, Mulgrew Miller and Tony Williams.
Early life and career
Charnett Moffett 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, GRAMMY®-winning Black Codes (From the Underground). During the 1980s, Moffett 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 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, NetMan (1987) which featured Michael Brecker, Kenny Kirkland and Al Foster. His second Blue Note release, Beauty Within (1989) was a family affair featuring his father Charles Moffett on drums, older brothers Mondre Moffett on trumpet, Charles Moffett, Jr on tenor sax, Codaryl Moffett on drums, and his sister Charisse on vocals. Also featured were Kenny Garrett on alto saxophone, and Stanley Jordan on guitar. HIs third Blue Note release, Netman (1991), produced by Kenny Kirkland, especially focused on Moffett's piccolo bass and electric bass work.
In 1993, Charnett Moffett recorded Rhythm & Blood for Sweet Basil's Apollon Records. A mix of jazz and pop, it placed high on the music charts in Japan. He 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 — Sound Museum: Hidden Man and Sound Museum: Three Women. Another 1997 recording, Acoustic Trio for Teichiku Records, showcased Moffett'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, drummer Charles Moffett Sr, his father, known for his famous work with Ornette Coleman. Another 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 on Howard Shore's score forf The Score (starring Robert De Niro and Marlon Brando).
2008 to present
In 2008 Moffett signed with Motéma Music releasing The Art of Improvisation in May 2009 and Treasure in June 2010. The Art of Improvisation was his Motéma debut (and his eighth 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 (2010), 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 his second on Motéma, marked his eleventh as a leader. Once again on Treasure, he 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 Moffett, is included as enhanced content on the CD. Treasure was also released by King Records in Japan and by Membran International in the EU.
Moffett worked in duo with Jana Herzen on her sophomore release Passion of A Lonely Heart (October 2012), playing the upright bass and electric bass.
In 2013 he released The Bridge: Solo Bass Works and Spirit of Sound, also on Motéma Music. And in 2017, in celebration of his thirtieth year as a recording artist, he released Music From Our Soul via Motema, which was his first live release, and featured his long time jazz compatriots, Pharaoh Sanders, Stanley Jordan, Cyrus Chestnut, Jeff 'Tain' Watts, Victor Lewis and Mike Clarke.
- 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)
- 2010: Treasure (Motéma)
- 2013: The Bridge: Solo Bass Works (Motéma)
- 2013: Spirit of Sound (Motéma)
- 2017: Music From Our Soul (Motéma)
With Ornette Coleman
- Sound Museum: Hidden Man (Harmolodic/Verve, 1996)
- Sound Museum: Three Women (Harmolodic/Verve, 1996)
- Dedication (JMT, 1989)
With Frank Lowe
- Decision in Paradise (Soul Note, 1984)
With Mulgrew Miller
With Wallace Roney
With Sonny Sharrock
- Ask the Ages (Axiom, 1991)