Charles James Shavers (August 3, 1920 – July 8, 1971) was an American swing era jazz trumpeter who played with Dizzy Gillespie, Nat King Cole, Roy Eldridge, Johnny Dodds, Jimmie Noone, Sidney Bechet, Midge Williams, and Billie Holiday. He was an arranger and composer, and one of his compositions, "Undecided", is a jazz standard.
Shavers's father, a distant relative of Fats Navarro, was from the prominent Shavers family of Key West, Florida. Charlie was a cousin of heavyweight boxer Earnie Shavers. Born in New York City, he took up piano and banjo before switching to trumpet.
In the mid-1930s, he performed with Tiny Bradshaw and Lucky Millinder. In 1935 he played in the trumpet section with Dizzy Gillespie and Carl (Bama) Warwick in Frankie Fairfax's Campus Club Orchestra. In 1936 he joined John Kirby's Sextet as trumpet soloist and arranger. He was only 16, but gave his birth date as 1917 to avoid child labor laws; many biographies still list this date.
Shavers's arrangements and solos helped make the band one of the most commercially successful and imitated of its day. In 1937, he performed with Midge Williams and her Jazz Jesters. In 1944 he began playing sessions in Raymond Scott's CBS staff orchestra. In 1945 he left John Kirby's band to join Tommy Dorsey's Orchestra, with whom he toured and recorded, off and on, until 1953. During this time he continued to play at CBS; he also appeared with the Metronome All-Stars, and made a number of recordings as trumpet soloist with Billie Holiday. From 1953 to 1954 he worked with Benny Goodman and toured Europe with Norman Granz's popular Jazz at the Philharmonic series, where he was a crowd favorite. He formed his own band with Terry Gibbs and Louie Bellson.
Shavers died from throat cancer in New York in 1971 at the age of 50. His friend Louis Armstrong died while Shavers was on his deathbed, and his last request was that his trumpet mouthpiece be buried with Armstrong.
Birth and Death Data: Born August 3rd, 1917 (New York City), Died July 8th, 1971 (New York City)
Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1937 - 1958
Roles Represented in DAHR: trumpet, arranger, composer, vocalist
Recordings (Results 1-25 of 320 records)
|Company||Matrix No.||Size||First Recording Date||Title||Primary Performer||Description||Role||Audio|
|Victor||BS-030704||10-in.||12/15/1938||Undecided||Benny Goodman Orchestra||Jazz/dance band||composer|
|Victor||BS-032947||10-in.||3/9/1939||Undecided||Fats Waller and his Rhythm||Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo||composer|
|Victor||BS-032966||10-in.||3/12/1939||Pastel blue||Artie Shaw Orchestra||Jazz/dance band||composer|
|Victor||BS-035559||10-in.||4/5/1939||Strange enchantment||Charlie Barnet Orchestra ; Judy Ellington||Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo||instrumentalist, trumpet|
|Victor||BS-035560||10-in.||4/5/1939||Asleep or awake||Charlie Barnet Orchestra ; Judy Ellington||Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo||instrumentalist, trumpet|
|Victor||BS-035561||10-in.||4/5/1939||Only a rose||Charlie Barnet Orchestra||Jazz/dance band||instrumentalist, trumpet|
|Victor||BS-035562||10-in.||4/5/1939||S'posin'||Charlie Barnet Orchestra ; Judy Ellington||Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo||instrumentalist, trumpet|
|Victor||BS-035563||10-in.||4/5/1939||Echoes of Harlem||Charlie Barnet Orchestra||Jazz/dance band||instrumentalist, trumpet|
|Victor||BS-035564||10-in.||4/5/1939||Scotch and soda||Charlie Barnet Orchestra||Jazz/dance band||instrumentalist, trumpet|
|Victor||BS-035782||10-in.||4/24/1939||Why begin again (Pastel blue)||Three Reasons ; Dick Todd||Male vocal solo, with female vocal trio and jazz/dance band||composer|
|Victor||BS-036839||10-in.||5/1/1939||Dawn of the desert||Tommy Dorsey Orchestra||Jazz/dance band||composer|
|Victor||BS-036840||10-in.||5/1/1939||Why begin again?||Jack Leonard ; Tommy Dorsey Orchestra||Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo||composer|
|Victor||BS-066895||10-in.||7/25/1941||Close shave||John Kirby Orchestra||Jazz/dance band||composer|
|Victor||BS-067791||10-in.||9/13/1941||I'm coming, Virginia||Sidney Bechet ; New Orleans Feetwarmers||Jazz/dance sextet||instrumentalist, trumpet|
|Victor||BS-067792||10-in.||9/13/1941||Limehouse blues||New Orleans Feetwarmers||Jazz/dance sextet||instrumentalist, trumpet|
|Victor||BS-067793||10-in.||9/13/1941||Georgia cabin||Sidney Bechet ; New Orleans Feetwarmers||Jazz/dance sextet||instrumentalist, trumpet|
|Victor||BS-067794||10-in.||9/13/1941||Texas moaner||New Orleans Feetwarmers||Jazz/dance sextet||instrumentalist, trumpet|
|Victor||BS-067978||10-in.||10/7/1941||Tweed me||John Kirby Orchestra||Jazz/dance band||instrumentalist, trumpet|
|Victor||BS-067979||10-in.||10/7/1941||Move over||John Kirby Orchestra||Jazz/dance band||composer, instrumentalist, trumpet|
|Victor||BS-067980||10-in.||10/7/1941||Wondering where||Buster Bailey ; John Kirby Orchestra ; Russell Procope ; Charlie Shavers||Jazz/dance band, with male vocal trio||composer, vocalist, instrumentalist, trumpet|
|Victor||BS-068114||10-in.||10/24/1941||Rose room||Sidney Bechet ; New Orleans Feetwarmers||Jazz/dance band||instrumentalist, trumpet|
|Victor||BS-068115||10-in.||10/24/1941||Oh! Lady be good!||Sidney Bechet ; New Orleans Feetwarmers||Jazz/dance band||instrumentalist, trumpet|
|Victor||BS-068116||10-in.||10/24/1941||What is this thing called love||Sidney Bechet ; New Orleans Feetwarmers||Jazz/dance band||instrumentalist, trumpet|
|Victor||BS-071900||10-in.||2/11/1942||Keep smilin' (Keep laughin', be happy)||Buster Bailey ; John Kirby Orchestra ; Russell Procope ; Charlie Shavers||Jazz/dance band, with male vocal trio||vocalist|
|Victor||BS-071901||10-in.||2/11/1942||Comin' back||John Kirby Orchestra||Jazz/dance band||composer|
Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Shavers, Charlie," accessed January 19, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/109143.
Shavers, Charlie. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved January 19, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/109143.
"Shavers, Charlie." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 19 January 2021.
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