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Zutty Singleton (1898-1975)Zutty SingletonZutty Singleton (May 14, 1898 – July 14, 1975) was one of the most influential drummers of early Jazz. He popularized the use of brushes and drum solos in Jazz and had some of the best technique of the era.

Zutty got his start at the Rosebud Theater in New Orleans with Steve Lewis in 1915. During World War I he went to Europe to fight and was wounded. Zutty played in several bands in New Orleans after the war, including Papa CelestinLuis Russell, and with Fate Marable on the riverboats.

He moved up to St. Louis to play with Charlie Creath and married his sister Marge. He moved back to New Orleans for a year and then moved to Chicago where he worked with Doc Cooke and others. While in Chicago, he and Louis Armstrong and Earl Hines tried to open a club, but it was unsuccessful.

Zutty Singleton
Zutty Singleton with Adele Girard on harp in 1939; photo: William P. Gottlieb

Zutty played on several of the Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five sides, including “A Monday Date“, where Armstrong says, “Come on Zutty, whip those cymbals Pops!”. In 1931 he moved to New York City to play with Fats Waller.

Throughout the Depression, Singleton managed to keep working, often in traveling vaudville shows. In 1933 he moved back to Chicago and joined Carroll Dickerson at the Grand Terrace (3955 South Parkway). Throughout the rest of the Thirties he with a number of bands, including ones led by Roy Eldridge, Mezz Mezzrow and Sidney Bechet. In 1941 he moved to Los Angeles and led or played in a series of bands there. He continued to play up until he retired in 1970 after suffering from a stroke.

Zutty Singleton (1898-1975)

Zutty Singleton and his Creole Band Zutty Singleton and his Orchestra
Zutty Singleton’s Trio Zutty and his Band

Zutty Singleton (1898-1975)

Title Director Year
Stormy Weather Andrew L. Stone 1943
New Orleans Arthur Lubin 1947


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