Sidney Big Sid Catlett

Sidney "Big Sid" Catlett

Evansville, Vanderburgh County, Indiana, USA
Death 25 Mar 1951 (aged 41)
Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA
Burial Alsip, Cook County, Illinois, USA
Memorial ID 26137525 · View Source
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Jazz drummer. He was inducted into the "Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame" in 1996.
He was an impressive figure, well over six feet tall, with large hands and long arms. Ordinary drum sticks looked like toothpicks in his hands. He was known for dancing around his drums as he played, tossing his sticks in the air in an impressive display that drove the audience crazy.He died very young (just 41 years old) but left an impressive amount of recorded music. Although often identified with Louis Armstrong's Jazz Stars, he recorded with Armstrong, Fletcher Henderson, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Eddie Condon, Sidney Bechet, Billie Holiday and many, many more.
His playing was described as "a giant hand supporting the band, with his sound coming from within the band." His music was joyous and he was known to respond to memorible playing with "Hear that!" "Wow!" or "Yes!!" He was thought of as one of the most flexible drummers. Louis Armstrong called him "THe greatest jazz drummer" and hired him whenever possible. He was a strong player and had outstanding showmanship. His playing was fast and soft.
He stopped touring with Armstrong because of his health, but still worked as the house drummer at Chicago's Jazz Limited club.
He had a bout of Pneumonia early in 1951 and in March suffered a heart attack and died.

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  • Created by: Pat Bruce
  • Added: 19 Apr 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 26137525
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Sidney "Big Sid" Catlett (10 Jan 1910–25 Mar 1951), Find A Grave Memorial no. 26137525, citing Burr Oak Cemetery, Alsip, Cook County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Pat Bruce (contributor 46820388) .