Peter “Chuck” Badie grew up in Mahalia Jackson’s Carrollton neighborhood of New Orleans, LA. His father was a prominent jazz saxophonist who played with the “Eureka” and the “Original Olympia” brass bands. Chuck used the G.I. Bill to enroll at the Grunewald School of Music.
He was one of the first bassist around New Orleans to perform on the electric bass although most of his major recordings would feature him on the upright bass. Unlike other musicians of that time, his versatility afforded him the opportunity to play with big bands, traditional jazz bands, modern jazz ensembles, and rhythm-and-blues bands.
In 1950 he went on the road with rhythm-and-blues pioneer Roy Brown for two years, to later join Paul Gayten’s and Dave Bartholomew’s Bands. Chuck was introduced to Lionel Hampton, who asked him if he could travel. Chuck performed with Hampton’s band, playing the electric bass, and traveling all over the world, for three years. He recorded more than 100 songs before leaving the band to return to New Orleans to assist his mother with the care of his sick father.
Back in New Orleans, he joined the American Jazz Quintet, which was considered the top New Orleans modern jazz group of the 1950s and 1960s. At that time, it included Ellis Marsalis, Ed Blackwell, Nat Perrilliat, and Alvin Batiste.
In 1961, Harold Battiste formed All For One (AFO) Records, and its membership boasted some of the now-legendary musicians of New Orleans: Chuck Badie, Alvin Batiste, Warren Bell, James Black, Edward Blackwell, John Boudreaux, Melvin Lastie, Tami Lynn, Ellis Marsalis, Richard Payne, Nathanial Perrilliat, and Alvin Red Tyler. AFO became an incorporated production company, and Chuck served as one of its board members. AFO established its own label, issuing classic R&B and jazz recordings.
Chuck is also on most of the popular recordings issued by Minit Records owned by Joe Banashak and Larry McKinley. These sessions were produced by Allen Toussaint and included Ernie K-Doe, Jesse Hill, Irma Thomas and Benny Spellman. Chuck also appeared on Chris Kenner’s classic recording for Instant Records.
Chuck also toured and recorded with Sam Cooke for ten months, and can be heard on “Meet me at Mary’s Place,” “Ain’t that Good News,” “Tennessee Waltz.” He created the intro for “A Change Is Gonna Come.” After Cooke’s death Chuck came back to New Orleans and performed with a cadre of local and national artists — Zoot Sims, Dizzy Gillespie, Fats Domino, Lloyd Price, Big Joe Turner, Charles Brown, Hank Crawford, Ed Frank, June Gardner and many others.
Chuck stopped playing for a period of time but returned to music in the 80s and maintained a schedule that included a weekly performance at the Palm Court Jazz Café. He is presently retired and lives in New Orleans in the Musicians Village.