Jazz Musician. He was an American Jazz drummer and vocalist who was best known for his work with the legendary Duke Ellington Orchestra. He was Ellington's first drummer whom he met in 1919. He was a very elegant and showmanly drummer, who sat slightly above and behind the rest of the band, adding color and class to the rhythm section. He played with the band for 30 years. In March,1950 he left the Ellington band to play in a band led by Ellington's star alto saxophonist, Johnny Hodges. After six months he left Hodges and played mainly as a freelance drummer, as well as appearing in films, and briefly leading his own trio. He was part of a tribute to Ellington in 1974, the tribute achieved great success throughout the United Stales. He can be heard on such songs as: Mood Indigo, The Mooche, Caravan, Black and Tan Fantacy, Sugar Rum Cherry, and many more. He died in New York City of cancer.
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