Charlie Barnet was one of the first guys I thought was unique. I can tell you step-wise how the alto players got to me. The first one I knew played alto was Jimmy Dorsey. Then Johnny Hodges and Benny Carter and Willie Smith. Then when I first heard Charlie Paker I heard something different, really different. There were some guys who were trying to sound like Charlie Parker. Then I began to notice Charlie Barnet for the first time, even though he’d been on the scene. He was saying an awful lot of different things. He was peculiarly original from the outset. He played only like himself. And not just on alto. Here’s a guy whose tenor playing was far more influential than people realize. A great number of rock and roll players utilize Charlie Barnet devices. The so-called “chicken” tenor sax playing of King Curtis and Boots Randolph–direct quotations from Charlie Barnet thirty years ago.
On Jazz Review, WDSU, New Orleans, September 2, 1967, quoted in Jazz Matters: Reflections on the Music and Some of its Makers.