Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
(b 23 April 1895, nr New Orleans; d 19 April '44, LA) Clarinet. With Leon Rappolo of the New Orleans Rhythm Kings, he was the greatest infl. on Benny Goodman and other clarinettists of the Swing Era, with his beautiful tone and flowing style, but he made few records and was long badly served by reissues. Played with New Orleans giants (Freddie Keppard, etc), in Chicago '18--43, went to West Coast, died of heart attack. First records as leader at Apex Club '28, with unusual instrumentation of four rhythm and two reeds: with Earl Hines on piano, Joe Poston on alto sax (b c 1895; d May '42), Bud Scott on banjo (b 11 Jan. c 1890; d 2 July '49, LA; also worked with King Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton), Johnny Wells on drums (b c'05; d 25 Nov. '65, NYC: first a singer/comedian/dancer, switched to drums at the Apex, later played with Joe Sullivan), Lawson Buford on tuba; delightful tracks such as 'Apex Blues', 'I Know That You Know' were almost continuously in print on Decca/MCA, in poor transfers with echo or phony stereo added. There were more tracks from '29 with other pianists, '30 with vocals by May Alix and Mildred Bailey, four more sides '31 with Hines, and from mid-'30s with slightly larger groups incl. Charlie Shavers, Israel Crosby etc. There are also four trio tracks '40 accompanying singer Ed Thompson on Bluebird, and quartet tracks recorded at the Yes Yes Club as demos for proposed recording session; these last were available on Swaggie (Australia), Folkways (USA). Complete Apex Club tracks on four Swaggie LPs from Australia was an excellent edition; today's CDs at last do him credit: Apex Blues on Decca Jazz, complete series on Classics. His widow married territory bandleader Troy Floyd; his son Jimmy Jr (b 21 April '38, Chicago; d 29 March '91) played in his father's style, recorded with Jeannie and Jimmy Cheatham, with Hal Smith's Creole Sunshine Orchestra, UK album Jimmy Remembers Jimmie '85 on Stomp Off with John R. T. Davies Rhythmic Five and Six.