Composer and musician Bob Haggart worked with jazz’s greats during the course of his 60-year career. The double bass player, who is often associated with Dixieland music, was raised in Douglas Manor.
Haggart was born in 1914 in New York City and grew up in the Manor.
As a boy, his family gave him a ukulele, but he did not like the sound of the instrument, so his mother eventually bought him a guitar, according to the Douglaston Little Neck Historical Society.
He learned to play the double bass while attending Great Neck High School.
Haggart was a founding member of the Bob Crosby Band in the Swing Era of the mid 1930s. The group’s songs included “Big Noise from Winnetka” and “What’s New?”
In 1942, he broke away from the band and began recording with a number of jazz legends, including Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Charlie Parker and Ella Fitzgerald.
He arranged a number of the songs on Louis Armstrong’s 1956 four volume “Satchmo: A Musical Biography.”
In the late 1950s, Bob Crosby recorded Haggart’s arrangement for “Porgy and Bess.”
From 1968 to the late 1970s, Haggart and Yank Lawson led The World’s Greatest Jazz Band and then performed as a freelance musician in several groups until his death in 1998 in Venice, Fla.
“He could have been another George Gershwin if he’d channeled all his talents into composing,” Crosby once said of Haggart in an interview with Britain’s The Independent.