Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

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MOFFETT family

Drummer Charles Moffett (b 11 Sep. '29, Lake Como TX; d 14 Feb. '97) played trumpet in R&B bands, switched to drums, served in US Navy, attended university and worked as a high school teacher in Texas for nearly a decade. He went to NYC '61 and worked with Ornette Coleman (also played vibes). He said that Ornette taught him to play trumpet according to the way that it is built, e.g. from the relationships of the valves. 'It opened my head up ... it gave me so much more freedom, so many ideas. I didn't have to worry about playing from a chord structure to express myself. That's what he gave me and that's what I gave Charnett when he was five years old.' He later relocated to Oakland CA; has worked with Sonny Rollins, Prince Lasha, Archie Shepp and others, recorded with Coleman and Shepp, made albums Blaster Master and Big Time with the Keshavan Maslak Quartet; his own group incl. Pharoah Sanders and Carla Bley '64; his album The Gift '69 on Savoy incl. Wilbur Ware and Codaryl (Cody) Moffett. With roots in the Swing Era he brought traditional aspects to free jazz, and remained active as a teacher, raising his own talented brood: he prod. The Charles Moffett Family c'74 on Codaryl (LRS Records) with his sons.

Bassist Charnett (b '69) has recorded with Wynton Marsalis, Frank Lowe, Tony Williams, Mulgrew Miller, Stanley Jordan etc, his own albums Net Man '87, Beauty Within '89 (incl. drummer Cody, Kenny Drew and Jordan), and Nettwork '93 (with two Moffetts incl. Charisse) are on Blue Note, Planet Home '93--4 and trio Still Life '96 on Evidence, Charnett playing electric bass on the latter with Cindy Blackman on drums, Rachel Z on keyboards. Cody's Evidence '93 is on Telarc, incl. Charnett, Kenny Drew Jr, Ravi Coltrane: the younger generation is taking up the reins. Africano '94 on Venus by the Moffett Family Jazz band incl. Charnett and Cody, Charles Sr, Charles Jr on reeds, Mondr‚ Moffett on trumpet, Larry Willis on piano, and Lafayette Thomas on guitar. This was made in NYC, whence Charles Sr had returned '80 to continue teaching; he played on three of the first 15 superbly recorded releases on the new CIMP label (Creative Improvised Music Projects), with Frank Lowe and Sonny Simmons trios and the Joe McPhee Quartet '95--6.