Bobby Hackett's mellow tone and melodic style offered a contrast to the brasher Dixieland-oriented trumpeters. Emphasizing his middle-register and lyricism, Hackett was a flexible soloist who actually sounded little like his main inspiration, Louis Armstrong.
When Hackett first came up he was briefly known as "the new Bix" because of the similarity in his approach to that of Bix Beiderbecke, but very soon he developed his own distinctive sound. Originally a guitarist (which he doubled on until the mid-'40s), Hackett performed in local bands, and by 1936 was leading his own group. He moved to New York in 1937, played with Joe Marsala, appeared at Benny Goodman's 1938 Carnegie Hall concert (recreating Beiderbecke's solo on "I'm Coming Virginia"), recorded with Eddie Condon, and by 1939 had a short-lived big band. Hackett played briefly with Horace Heidt, and during 1941-1942 was with