Bobby Hackett, one of nine children, was born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island. At an early age he played the ukulele and by the time he was twelve played guitar and violin, and had bought his first cornet. He left high school after his freshman year to take a steady job with a band that performed seven days a week at the Port Arthur - a local Chinese restaurant. He also played guitar regularly at the Rhodes and Arcadia ballrooms which often broadcasted on Providence radio. A highlight of his time at the Rhodes occurred when the Cab Calloway Band arrived short-handed and invited Bobby to fill in. In the fall of 1932 he was recruited by The Herbie Marsh Orchestra for a winter engagement at a hotel in Syracuse, New York. This was the scene of perhaps the first of many great Hackett anecdotes. Although hired as a guitar player, Bobby preferred the cornet and would play it occasionally. After a few evenings, the manager called Marsh aside and reportedly said ...if that kid picks up the horn again the whole band is fired.
Read more articles