Charles H. Drayton (5 May 1919 Brooklyn, New York - 31 July 1953 Los Angeles) was a prolific American jazz bassist who performed and recorded from the late 1930s until his death with artists that include Louis Jordan, Benny Carter, Dizzy Gillespie, Pete Brown, Ben Webster, Joan Edwards, Timmie Rogers, Savannah Churchill, the Basin Street Boys, Barney Bigard, Billy Holliday, Coleman Hawkins, Woody Herman, Julia Lee, Jack Teagarden, Louis Armstrong, Fletcher Henderson, Russell Jacquet, Marion Abernathy, The Treniers, Billy Taylor, Helen Humes, and Teddy Bunn. In 1946, he played several times with artists at Jazz at the Philharmonic.
Drayton's performances -- including the known fifty-two jazz recording sessions from 1938 to 1953 -- with artists at the vanguard of bebop during the height of its development, placed him in the flow of many historic settings in jazz that marked the careers of musicians. In one such setting, Drayton was the bassist for Ben Webster's first recording session -- February 8, 1944, World Broadcasting Systems, New York City -- with Hot Lips Page (trumpet), Clyde Hart (piano), Denzil Best (drums). That session has been released multiple times. A 1993 release on CD is titled The Horn, by Progressive Records (OCLC 53833333).
Charlie Drayton's son, Bernard "Bernie" Drayton, was a prolific studio audio engineer, and producer of recording artists and jingles. He widely known by fans of John Coltrane as the audio engineer for Coltrane's last recording, The Olatunji Concert: The Last Live Recording. His grandson, Charley Drayton, is a drummer.