Recent News

Very excited to announce that Charlie will be a part of "An American Christmas with PJ Rasmussen and the Boardwalk Jazz Band," a national television special that will air in December 2016! The band will be recording for the special at City Winery in NYC on October 16th and 23rd.

Big Beat's first EP is out now! You can find it at CD Baby, iTunes, and Amazon.


Charlie Dougherty is a bassist, composer/arranger, scholar, and educator in the New York City area. He is a co-founder and co-leader of Big Beat, a big band that blends jazz with soul and R&B music. For more information, check out the band on Facebook and YouTube.

Charlie's performance experience is wide-ranging; he has performed at jazz festivals and with modern dance companies, and he has played everything from gospel music to the contemporary classical music of Louis Andriessen, Kyle Gann, and Judd Greenstein. As a composer/arranger, Charlie has written at the high school level and above for a variety of instrumentations, ranging from solo bass to saxophone ensemble to full big band. His writing experience includes arranging a piece for Joe Lovano and having a composition featured in a performance with the José Limón Dance Company.

Born and raised in Montvale, NJ, Charlie grew up playing piano, trumpet, and drums.  But his mother comes from a family of bass players, and by the time he got to high school Charlie found himself air-bassing along to his favorite songs.  Accepting his fate, he got his first bass during his freshman year and started teaching himself by playing along with his Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Motown records.  His desire to learn as many different musical styles as possible led him to join his high school jazz band despite not knowing much of anything about jazz.  He learned quickly under the guidance of director Peter Furlan, however, and joined Peter’s more advanced Rockland Youth Jazz Ensemble shortly thereafter.  By the time he finished high school, his pursuit of music, especially jazz, was irreversible.

Charlie went on to attend Williams College in Massachusetts, where he received a BA in history and music.  While he focused on jazz, he was able to perform in a variety of settings, most notably with the Williams Symphonic Winds for the North American premiere of Louis Andriessen’s De Materie. In his last two years at Williams, Charlie acquired a fast-growing interest in composition and arranging, and after graduation he returned to New Jersey and completed an MM in jazz arranging at William Paterson University. Charlie has been blessed to study with world-class musicians and educators over the years, including Jim McNeely, Cameron Brown, Mulgrew Miller, Andy Jaffe, Lewis Porter, David Demsey, Pete McGuinness, Cecil Bridgewater, Freddie Bryant, John Menegon, and Marcus McLaurine.

Charlie is proud to play basses that have been passed down to him from the Ricci family.