In the 1930’s, as it is today, New York City was a Mecca for all varieties of musician from saxophone pioneer Charlie Parker to Maestro Arturo Toscanini. Though not quite at that elite level as a player, Charles Ponte was English hornist of the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra as well as a member of the Paul Whiteman, Les Brown, and Ted Lewis Bands. His big band sax sound and not inconsiderable ability to play the elusive double reeds helped him become quite well known among musicians throughout NYC in the 1930’s and 1940’s.
Charlie played with or was friends with Lester Young, Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, Harold Gomberg, Samuel Baron and dozens more of the worlds finest musicians from all genres. It was during this time that he became close friends with Benny Fairbanks and Sam Shapiro, both soloists with major big bands. The three of them appeared together as members of the Ted Lewis Band in the Abbott and Costello classic “Hold that Ghost”.