New York, New York, who appeared on The
Best of Slim Gaillard: Laughin’ in Rhythm in 1946. In 1948, he was scooped up by Ray Brown
for a newly formed trio that featured pianist Hank Jones. This ensemble would frequently
accompany Ray’s newlywed, Ella Fitzgerald.
never with one outfit for long, however. In 1949, he recorded some sets with
Errol Garner that would appear on Garnering,
1949, Vol. 2, and Piano Jazz: The History. He was one of the original members
of The Oscar Peterson Trio, but was soon replaced by Irving Ashby. By 1951, he was back with Slim
Gaillard, recording tracks for inclusion on Smorgasbord: Help
Yourself!. He also worked with Roy Eldridge and
His Orchestra and many of these sessions ended up on the long-play record, Collates.
In 1952, he
was recruited by Billy Taylor into another trio, which featured a revolving
door of musicians, including Earl May, Charlie Mingus
and Oscar Pettiford. On 24th February 1952, he
appeared on TV with Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker for a performance of
“Hot House” which has been immortalized on DVD.
Taylor Trio became a quartet in October 1952, comprising Charlie Mingus, Oscar Pettiford,
Charlie Smith and Billy Taylor, and they recorded four tracks that would
eventually wind up on the 2008 CD, Oscar
Rides Again: Blues in the
Closet. In 1953, he did
double duty on conga and drums on the Joe Holiday album, Mambo Jazz.
titled Cross Section, recorded
between 1953 and 1954, features different incarnations of The Billy Taylor
Trio. In 1954, Charlie, along
with Oscar Pettiford and Billy Taylor, did a turn
with The Harry Lookofsky Strings. Then he teamed up with Hank Jones
and Oscar Pettiford for a date that made the cut
on The Modern Art of Jazz.
In 1957, Pettiford and Smith hooked up with flautist Herbie Mann on Sultry
Serenade. Charlie joined
Carmen McRae for three sessions in December 1958, and these songs appear on
Carmen McRae for Lovers. One of them, “When I Fall in
Love”, made the cut on the 1993 CD, Carmen McRae Sings Great American Songwriters.
By the late
‘50s, Charlie had his own trio, with frequent partners-in-crime, Hank
Jones and Oscar Pettiford. They shared two sides of an album
with Aaron Sachs entitled Jazzville Vol. 3. In 1961, Charlie helped turn The
Mitchell-Ruff Duo into The Mitchell-Ruff Trio, and they recorded The Catbird Seat live in New Haven,
Connecticut’s Playback Club.
One of the last albums to hit the shelves while Charlie was still
alive was 1963’s Moodsville, which contains a version of “Nice Work
If You Can Get It”, with The Billy Taylor Trio.
away on 15th January 1966.
His drumming, however, lives on on CDs
such as Benny Goodman Sextet, An Introduction to Johnny Hartman,
and Jazz Memories: Music of the Jazz Masters.