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Charlie Creath (1890-1951)
Charlie Creath (December 30, 1890 – October 23, 1951 ) was, like Fate Marable and Peck Kelly, was a regional band leader. Never traveling to the major jazz centers like Chicago or New York searching for fame and fortune, instead he opted to stay locally and play on the river boats that had proven to be fairly lucrative while relatively hassle free. The only way that Creath made it onto record was through the convenience of Okeh’s mobile recording unit.

Charles Creath's Jazz-O-Maniacs
Charles Creath’s Jazz-O-Maniacs Left to Right: Sammy Long, Willie Rollins, Margie Creath, Charles Lawson, Charlie Creath, Zutty Singleton

From 1916 to 1940 Creath’s main area of activity was, like Marable’s, the riverboats traveling up and down the Mississippi river between St. Louis and New Orleans. Many New Orleanians who would later become legends in jazz history could be found in his bands including drummer Zutty Singleton (who married his sister Marge), bassist “Pops” Foster and guitarist Lonnie Johnson. Both Johnson and Singleton recorded with Charles Creath’s Jazz-O-Maniacs from 1924 to 1927.

In 1940, Creath headed for Chicago where he continued to play with various groups until his death in 1951.— by Ted Gottsegen

Charles Creath’s Jazz-O-Maniacs


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