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Zutty Singleton

Arthur James "Zutty" Singleton (May 14, 1898 – July 14, 1975) was an American jazz drummer.

Singleton was born in Bunkie, Louisiana, and raised in New Orleans. According to his Jazz Profiles biography:

His unusual nickname, acquired in infancy, is the Creole word for “cute.”

He was working professionally with Steve Lewis by 1915. He served with the United States Navy in World War I. After returning to New Orleans he worked with such bands as those of Papa Celestin, Big Eye Louis Nelson, John Robichaux, and Fate Marable. He left for St. Louis, Missouri, to play in Charlie Creath's band, then moved to Chicago.

In Chicago, Singleton played with Doc Cook, Dave Peyton, Jimmie Noone, and theater bands, then joined Louis Armstrong's band with Earl Hines. In 1928 and 1929, he performed on landmark recordings with Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five. In 1929 he moved with Armstrong to New York City.

In addition to Armstrong, in New York Singleton played with Bubber Miley, Tommy Ladnier, Fats Waller, Jelly Roll Morton and Otto Hardwick. He also played in the band backing Bill Robinson. In 1934, Singleton returned to Chicago. He returned to New York in 1937, working with Mezz Mezzrow and Sidney Bechet.

The British thriller writer, Eric Ambler, author of A Coffin for Dimitrios, and other novels, saw Singleton perform in New York in 1939 and became an instant fan. In his autobiography, Here Lies, Ambler mentions getting an autographed photo of the drummer, which he prized.

In 1943, he moved to Los Angeles, where he led his own band, played for motion pictures, and was featured on Orson Welles's CBS Radio series, The Orson Welles Almanac (1944). Later he worked with such jazz musicians as Slim Gaillard, Wingy Manone, Eddie Condon, Nappy Lamare, Art Hodes, Oran "Hot Lips" Page, and Max Kaminsky.

Singleton appeared in the following films:

  • Stormy Weather (1943)
  • New Orleans (1947)
  • Young Man with a Horn (1950)

Birth and Death Data: Born May 14th, 1898 (Bunkie), Died July 14th, 1975 (New York City)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1928 - 1949

Roles Represented in DAHR: drums, traps, vocalist, speaker

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 76 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BVE-57784 10-in. 12/17/1929 Smilin' the blues away Jelly Roll Morton Trio Instrumental trio instrumentalist, drums  
Victor BVE-57785 10-in. 12/17/1929 Turtle twist Jelly Roll Morton Trio Instrumental trio instrumentalist, drums  
Victor BVE-57786 10-in. 12/17/1929 My little Dixie home Jelly Roll Morton Trio Instrumental trio instrumentalist, drums  
Victor BVE-57787 10-in. 12/17/1929 That's like it ought to be Jelly Roll Morton Trio Instrumental trio instrumentalist, drums  
Victor BS-028988 10-in. 11/21/1938 Revolutionary blues Mezz Mezzrow Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, traps  
Victor BS-028989 10-in. 11/21/1938 Comin' on with the come on Mezz Mezzrow Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, traps  
Victor BS-028990 10-in. 11/21/1938 Comin' on with the come on Mezz Mezzrow Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, traps  
Victor BS-028991 10-in. 11/21/1938 Swingin' for "Mezz" Mezz Mezzrow Orchestra Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, traps  
Victor BS-041360 10-in. 9/28/1939 Climax rag Jelly Roll Morton ; New Orleans Jazzmen Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, drums  
Victor BS-041361 10-in. 9/28/1939 Don't you leave me here Jelly Roll Morton ; New Orleans Jazzmen Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, drums  
Victor BS-041362 10-in. 9/28/1939 West End blues Jelly Roll Morton ; New Orleans Jazzmen Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, drums  
Victor BS-041363 10-in. 9/28/1939 Ballin' the jack Jelly Roll Morton ; New Orleans Jazzmen Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, drums  
Victor BS-041456 10-in. 9/14/1939 Oh, didn't he ramble Jelly Roll Morton ; New Orleans Jazzmen Jazz/dance band, with talk instrumentalist, drums, speaker  
Victor BS-041457 10-in. 9/14/1939 High society Jelly Roll Morton ; New Orleans Jazzmen Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, drums  
Victor BS-041458 10-in. 9/14/1939 I thought I heard Buddy Bolden say Jelly Roll Morton ; New Orleans Jazzmen Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, drums  
Victor BS-041459 10-in. 9/14/1939 Winin' boy blues Jelly Roll Morton ; New Orleans Jazzmen Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, drums  
Victor BS-057641 10-in. 11/13/1940 Walkin' by the river Una Mae Carlisle Female vocal solo, with instrumental ensemble instrumentalist, drums  
Victor BS-057642 10-in. 11/13/1940 I met you then, I know you now Una Mae Carlisle Female vocal solo, with instrumental ensemble instrumentalist, drums  
Victor BS-062858 10-in. 3/19/1941 Ochi chornya Wingy Manone Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, drums  
Victor BS-062859 10-in. 3/19/1941 Mama's gone, good-bye Wingy Manone Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo and vocal ensemble instrumentalist, drums  
Victor BS-062860 10-in. 3/19/1941 The boogie beat'll getcha (If you don't watch out) Wingy Manone Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, drums  
Victor BS-062861 10-in. 3/19/1941 Stop the war (The cats are killin' themselves) Wingy Manone Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, drums  
OKeh W400960 10-in. 6/27/1928 Fireworks Louis Armstrong ; Hot Five Jazz/dance sextet instrumentalist, drums  
OKeh W400961 10-in. 6/27/1928 Skip the gutter Louis Armstrong ; Hot Five Jazz/dance sextet instrumentalist, drums  
OKeh W400962 10-in. 6/27/1928 A Monday date Louis Armstrong ; Hot Five Jazz/dance sextet, with male vocal solo and talk instrumentalist, drums  
(Results 1-25 of 76 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Singleton, Zutty," accessed September 17, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/109916.

Singleton, Zutty. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved September 17, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/109916.

"Singleton, Zutty." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 17 September 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/109916

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