Robert Sherwood Haggart-He 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. 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.
BOB HAGGART PERFORMED, RECORDED WITH JAZZ LEGENDS:- Sunday, December 6, 1998
Jazz artist Bob Haggart, an arranger who played bass with bands big and small for nearly 70 years, has died after collapsing on his way to the post office.
Haggart, 84, died Wednesday in the Southwest Florida coastal city of Venice where he moved eight years ago from Carlsbad, Calif.
During his long and varied career he performed and recorded with jazz greats such as Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington. He played with the Bob Crosby Orchestra and wrote the hits South Rampart Street Parade and What's New?.
Haggart joined the Bob Crosby Orchestra, known as the Bob Cats, soon after it was founded in 1935 and was the group's guiding spirit until 1942.
Later he worked as a freelance musician in New York City and performed in the orchestras of The Perry Como Show and the Tonight show.
His versatility enabled him to work with the string orchestra of Charlie Parker and in the large ensembles that backed singers.
He was born in Manhattan as Robert Sherwood Haggart and grew up in Douglaston, N.Y. He began playing guitar and at age 17 switched to the double bass.
He is survived by a son, Bob Haggart Jr. of Boca Raton, and a sister, Mary Audette of Connecticut.
The Farley Funeral Home and Crematory in Venice is handling arrangements. A memorial concert will be held at a later date.
Helen Kendall Frey Haggart
1916–1993 (m. 1938)
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