Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
One of the great Earl Hines' disciples (along with Jess Stacy), Joe Sullivan's style was perfect for the freewheeling jazz of Eddie Condon's bands. Sullivan graduated from the Chicago Conservatory and was an important contributor to the Chicago jazz scene of the 1920s. He was in New York during the next decade and his solo recordings include an original ("Little Rock Getaway") that would become a standard. In 1936, Sullivan joined Bob Crosby's band, but tuberculosis put him in the hospital for ten months and Bob Zurke replaced him (having a hit with "Little Rock Getaway!"). However, Sullivan recovered, led his own record dates, and was involved in a lot of jam sessions with the Condon gang in the 1940s. By the 1950s he was largely forgotten, playing solo in San Francisco and drinking much more than he should. Despite an occasional recording and a successful appearance at the Teagarden family reunion at the 1963 Monterey Jazz Festival, Sullivan's prime years were long gone by the time he passed away.