Cultural Percussionist

Charles Moffett

Charles Moffett (September 6, 1929 – February 14, 1997) was a free jazz drummer.

Moffett was born in Fort Worth, Texaswhere he attended I.M. Terrell High School with Ornette Coleman. Before switching to drums, Moffett began his musical career as a trumpeter. At age 13, he played trumpet with Jimmy Witherspoon, and later formed a band, the Jam Jivers, with fellow students Coleman and Prince Lasha. After switching to drums, Moffett briefly performed with Little Richard.


Moffett served in the United States Navy, after which he pursued boxing before studying music at Huston-Tillotson College in Austin. Moffett married in 1953 (Coleman was best man, and performed at the wedding),then began teaching music at a public school in Rosenberg, Texas

In 1961, Moffett moved to New York City to work with Coleman, but the saxophonist soon went into a brief retirement period. Moffett worked with Sonny Rollins, appeared on Archie Shepp‘s album Four for Trane, and led a group that included Pharoah Sanders and Carla Bley. When Coleman returned to performing in 1964, he formed a trio with Moffett and bassist David Izenzon.Moffett also performed on vibraphone.

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