Born: July 2, 1927 | Died: April 3, 2009 Primary Instrument: Sax, alto
Charlie Kennedy, a talented alto saxophonist who was best known for his association with Gene Krupa's big band. The best years of Kennedy's career were the 1940s, when he played with Louis Prima's big band. His fine tenor solo can be heard on Prima's 1943 version of The White Cliffs of Dover.
He moved on to lead his own quartet before joining Krupa's big band from 1945 to 1948 and was the featured soloist on a number of recordings, including How High the Moon, Disc Jockey Jump and I Should Have Kept on Dreaming.
While living in the East, Kennedy also played with a number of other leading bands, including groups led by Charlie Ventura, Flip Phillips and Chico O'Farrill.
After moving to the West Coast in 1950, he played with Med Flory, Bill Holman's orchestra and, most notably, Terry Gibbs' Dream Band from 1959 to 1962.
He was also an active studio musician, playing on popular movies, including My Fair Lady and West Side Story.
A native of Staten Island, N.Y., he was born Charles Sumner Kennedy on July 2, 1927. He grew up in Weehawken, N.J., and started playing clarinet at age 8.
He played in school bands and orchestras and by the age of 18 had his first professional appearance when he joined Prima's band. Prima hired him right out of high school.