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Don Redman (July 29, 1900 – November 30, 1964) is one of the first great jazz arrangers and was a pivotal figure in the development of Swing and the Big Band style Jazz.

Redman was a childhood prodigy who played many instruments and began arranging music while still in high school. In 1920 he graduated from Storer College in West Virginia and joined Billy Paige’s Broadway Syncopators, where he played reed instruments and did some arranging.

In 1923 he met Fletcher Henderson and recorded with him on several dates.

When Henderson started his own orchestra in 1924 Redman joined as an arranger and reed player. He quit the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra in 1927 and took a job with William McKinney’s Cotton Pickers as musical director. He also recorded and arranged for Louis Armstrong and his Savoy Ballroom Five in 1928.

Don RedmanHe left McKinney’s Cotton Pickers in 1931 to form his own orchestra which he led until 1940, but also did arrangements for Paul Whiteman and Ben Pollack among others.

During the 1940s Redman worked for several big bands including Count Basie and Jimmy Dorsey while keeping busy with freelance arranging jobs. In the 1950s he was the musical director of Pearl Bailey’s band.sss band or session leader

Don Redman and his OrchestraMcKinney’s Cotton Pickers

I HeardDave Fleischer1933


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