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Jimmy Bertrand (1900-1960)

Jimmy BertrandPercussionist and xylophonist Jimmy Bertrand (24 February 1900 – August 1960) moved to Chicago in 1913 and played in the State Theatre Orchestra before joining Erskine Tate’s Vendome Orchestra from 1918 to 1928. He also did a great deal of teaching in the 1920s.

His pupils included Lionel Hampton and Big Sid Catlett. He often worked with pianist Jimmy Blythe who was the musical director of Jimmy Bertrand’s Washboard Wizards.

Bertrand went on to play with Doc Cooke and Lee Collins. He led his own band in Chicago in the 1930s and early 1940s, and then retired from music and worked in a meat packing plant. Jimmy Bertrand was the brother of Mabel Bertrand a Chicago show girl and the wife of Jelly Roll Morton from 1928 until his death.

Jimmy Bertrand (1900-1960)

Jimmy Bertrand’s Washboard Wizards was a pioneering website during the "Information wants to be Free" era of the 1990s. In that spirit we are recovering the lost data from the now defunct site and sharing it with you.
Most of the music in the archive is in the form of MP3s hosted on or the French servers of where this music is all in the public domain.
Files unavailable from those sources we host ourselves. They were made from original 78 RPM records in the hands of private collectors in the 1990s who contributed to the original They were hosted as .ra files originally and we have converted them into the more modern MP3 format. They are of inferior quality to what is available commercially and are intended for reference purposes only. In some cases a Real Audio (.ra) file from will download. Don't be scared! Those files will play in many music programs, but not Windows Media Player.

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