A Lively Experiment

Notes on collections and events at the RIHS

Object Thursdays: Bobby Hackett

Rhode Island is steeped in musical history from the Algonkins to Sissieretta Jones all the way up to the present with bands such as Alec K. Redfearn and the Eyesores. In between we have the New England singing masters who acted as early music educators and community bands such as Providence’s American Brass Band[1] and The Lusitana Portuguese American Band. [2]

One example of the variety of recorded music that the Library holds is this record by Providence native, Robert Leo Hackett, more famously known as Bobby Hackett.

Bobby Hackett Trumpet Solos

Gift of Mr. Ned Connors

Gift of Mr. Ned Connors

Gift of Mr. Ned Connors

Gift of Mr. Ned Connors

Gift of Mr. Ned Connors

Gift of Mr. Ned Connors

Gift of Mr. Ned Connors

Title: Horn-a-plenty

Publisher: Yorkers, N.Y. : Commodore, [195-]

Commodore Album FL 20,016

Track list

Side One:

1. Embraceable you

2. Jada

3. When day is done

Side Two

1. New Orleans

2. Beale Street blues

3. I must have that man

4. Skeleton jangle

Born on January 31, 1915, the sixth of nine children, Hackett went on to learn a multitude of instruments that included guitar, banjo, violin and the ukulele.  Around 1927, Bobby purchased his first cornet and although he mainly played guitar his break to play came when Cab Calloway’s trumpet player didn’t show up for a show at the Rhodes on the Pawtuxet ballroom. Hackett was all of fourteen years old when he got this incredible opportunity.

Over the course of his career he became an influential Dixieland Swing Cornetist and was among the first group of musicians to play at the inaugural Newport Jazz Festival in 1954. Also in the 1950’s Hackett began his “Music for Lovers” series of albums that he recorded over ten years and which Jackie Gleason heavily promoted. The 1960’s  saw work with the likes of Benny Goodman and Tony Bennett and in his final years between 1972 and 1976, Hackett was not only inducted into the Rhode Island Hall of Fame but he continued to tour internationally and nationally as well as record. His last performance was at the Weguasett Inn, Cape Cod on June 5, 1976. He passed away on June 7 of a heart attack at his home. [3]


[1] American Brass Band Records (MSS 256) Rhode Island Historical Society.

[2] Livingston, Carolyn, and Dawn Elizabeth Smith. 2008. Rhode Island’s musical heritage: an exploration. Sterling Heights, Mich: Harmonie Park Press. P. 133-140.

[3] Ibid. P.195-204.

See also:

Title: Bobby Hackett: Accomplished musician with a beautiful sound. (http://www.libertyhall.com/bobby.html#sound) accessed 2012_12_19.

Title: NationMaster – Encyclopedia: Dixieland (http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Dixieland) accessed 2012_12_19.

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This entry was posted on 20 December 2012 by in Collection Notes and tagged , , , , , , , .

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