Bill Douglass

Essential Albums


About Bill Douglass

Jazz drummer Bill Douglass should not be mistaken for the bassist and bamboo flute player of the same name who came along in a somewhat later era. The drummer Douglass was a solid swinger, not a hint of new age, who was a first choice of many top swing stars when a Los Angeles show was in the offing. Douglass worked with the touchy Benny Goodman, the comfy Ben Webster, the clever Benny Carter, and the busy Art Tatum; he was also considered a superb drummer for singers, again working with some of the very best: Kay Starr, June Christy, and Lena Horne, for example. The drummer graduated from the Westlake College of Music and eventually became a teacher himself at the school of percussion known simply as Drum City, all the while pursuing freelance recording jobs in and around Hollywood. While some of the performers previously mentioned did not record with this drummer, the recordings that do exist reveal that Douglass was comfortable making a variety of the hometown musical styles happen. Sides with Tatum and Webster present the hardcore evidence of syncopated chops, but the less well-known music of Harry Babasin in 1957 reveals a much more inventive, not to mention fleet, side of Douglass. The drummer also bares his backbeat on some of the West Coast blues recordings of Amos Milburn. ~ Eugene Chadbourne

Sudbury, Ontario, Canada
February 28, 1923

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