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Charlie Shavers

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 336 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-063837 10-in. 5/1/1941 I see a million people (but all I can see is you) Una Mae Carlisle Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance sextet instrumentalist, trumpet  
Victor BS-063838 10-in. 5/1/1941 Oh, I'm evil Una Mae Carlisle Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance sextet instrumentalist, trumpet  
Victor BS-063839 10-in. 5/1/1941 You mean so much to me Una Mae Carlisle Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance sextet instrumentalist, trumpet  
Victor BS-063840 10-in. 5/1/1941 The boogie-woogie piggy Una Mae Carlisle Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance sextet instrumentalist, trumpet  
Victor BS-066879 10-in. 7/22/1941 Can't help lovin' dat man Una Mae Carlisle Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance sextet instrumentalist, trumpet  
Victor BS-066880 10-in. 7/22/1941 It ain't like that Una Mae Carlisle Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance sextet instrumentalist, trumpet  
Victor BS-066881 10-in. 7/22/1941 Anything Una Mae Carlisle Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance sextet instrumentalist, trumpet  
Victor BS-066882 10-in. 7/22/1941 City called heaven Una Mae Carlisle Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance sextet instrumentalist, trumpet  
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  
(Results 1-25 of 336 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Shavers, Charlie," accessed July 23, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/109143.

Shavers, Charlie. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved July 23, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/109143.

"Shavers, Charlie." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 23 July 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/109143

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