McKinney's Cotton Pickers

McKinney's Cotton Pickers were an African American jazz band, in Detroit, Michigan in 1926 led by William McKinney, who expanded his Synco Septet to ten pieces. Cuba Austin took over for McKinney on drums. Between 1927 and 1931, they were one of the most popular African-American bands. Many of their records for Victor were bestsellers.

In 1927, Fletcher Henderson's arranger and saxophone player Don Redman was invited to become the Cotton Pickers' musical director and he assembled a band. John Nesbitt helped Redman with arrangements and rehearsals. The band in 1928 included Cuba Austin (drums and vocals), Langston Curl (trumpet), Ralph Escudero (tuba), Claude Jones, Redman (clarinet, alto saxophone, baritone saxophone, vocals), Todd Rhodes (piano, celeste), Prince Robinson (clarinet, tenor saxophone), Milton Senior (trombone), George Thomas (clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, vocals) and Dave Wilborn (banjo, vocals).

Other band members included George Bias (vocals), Benny Carter (clarinet, alto saxophone), Doc Cheatham (trumpet), Bill Coti (vocals), Ed Cuffee (trombone), Lois Deppe (vocals), Jimmy Dudley (clarinet, tenor saxophone), Robert Inge (clarinet, (alto saxophone), Quentin Jackson (trombone), Moxey-Hilton Jefferson (clarinet, alto saxophone), James P. Johnson (piano), Buddy Lee (trumpet), Donald King (vocals), Frank Marvin (vocals), Theodore McCord (clarinet, tenor saxophone), Jim Napier (vocals), Rex Stewart (cornet), and Billy Taylor (tuba). Towards the end of 1929, a number of soloists who were not regular members of the band sat in for a series of recordings. These included Leonard Davis (trumpet), Sidney de Paris (trumpet), Coleman Hawkins (clarinet, tenor saxophone), Fats Waller (piano, celeste), Joe "Fox" Smith (trumpet, cornet) , and Kaiser Marshall (drums).

In 1931 Redman left to form a band and was replaced by Benny Carter. The Cotton Pickers disbanded in 1934, unable to make money during the Depression. Manager of the band was Jean Goldkette who arranged for the group to record "Birmingham Bertha" for him in July 1929.

A New McKinney's Cotton Pickers was organized in the early 1970s by David Hutson using the arrangements by Don Redman. The band recorded several albums and featured banjoist Dave Wilborn, who was the only surviving original member.

Birth and Death Data: Born 1926

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1928 - 1931

Roles Represented in DAHR: Musical group

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 56 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BVE-46092 10-in. 7/11/1928 Sweet Sue, just you McKinney's Cotton Pickers Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Victor BVE-46093 10-in. 7/11/1928 Four or five times McKinney's Cotton Pickers Jazz/dance band, with vocal trio Musical group  
Victor BVE-46094 10-in. 7/11/1928 Put it there McKinney's Cotton Pickers Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Victor BVE-46095 10-in. 7/11/1928 Crying and sighing McKinney's Cotton Pickers Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Victor BVE-46096 10-in. 7/11/1928 Milenberg joys McKinney's Cotton Pickers Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Victor BVE-46098 10-in. 7/12/1928 Cherry McKinney's Cotton Pickers Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Victor BVE-46099 10-in. 7/12/1928 Stop kidding McKinney's Cotton Pickers Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Victor BVE-46400 10-in. 7/12/1928 Nobody's sweetheart McKinney's Cotton Pickers Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo (scat) Musical group  
Victor BVE-46401 10-in. 7/12/1928 Some sweet day McKinney's Cotton Pickers Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Victor BVE-46402 10-in. 7/12/1928 Shim-me-sha-wabble McKinney's Cotton Pickers Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Victor BVE-48619 10-in. 11/23/1928 It's tight like that McKinney's Cotton Pickers Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Victor BVE-48620 10-in. 11/23/1928 There's a rainbow 'round my shoulder McKinney's Cotton Pickers Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Victor BVE-51084 10-in. 4/8/1929 It's a precious little thing called love McKinney's Cotton Pickers Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Victor BVE-51085 10-in. 4/8/1929 Save it, pretty mamma McKinney's Cotton Pickers Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Victor BVE-51086 10-in. 4/8/1929 I found a new baby McKinney's Cotton Pickers Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Victor BVE-51087 10-in. 4/8/1929 Will you, won't you, be my babe? McKinney's Cotton Pickers Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Victor BVE-51204 10-in. 4/9/1929 Beedle-um bum McKinney's Cotton Pickers Jazz/dance band, with male vocal quartet Musical group  
Victor BVE-51205 10-in. 4/9/1929 Do something McKinney's Cotton Pickers Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Victor BVE-51206 10-in. 4/9/1929 Selling that stuff McKinney's Cotton Pickers Jazz/dance band, with male vocal duet Musical group  
Victor BVE-51207 10-in. 4/9/1929 It feels so good McKinney's Cotton Pickers Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Victor BVE-57064 10-in. 11/5/1929 Plain dirt McKinney's Cotton Pickers Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Victor BVE-57065 10-in. 11/5/1929 Gee, ain't I good to you McKinney's Cotton Pickers Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Victor BVE-57066 10-in. 11/6/1929 I'd love it McKinney's Cotton Pickers Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Victor BVE-57067 10-in. 11/6/1929 The way I feel today McKinney's Cotton Pickers Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Victor BVE-57068 10-in. 11/6/1929 Miss Hannah McKinney's Cotton Pickers Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo Musical group  
(Results 1-25 of 56 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "McKinney's Cotton Pickers," accessed August 7, 2020, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103735.

McKinney's Cotton Pickers. (2020). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved August 7, 2020, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103735.

"McKinney's Cotton Pickers." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2020. Web. 7 August 2020.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103735

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