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Tommy Ladnier

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  • Born: Florence, LA
  • Died: Geneva, NY
  • Years Active: 1920s, 1930s


Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

An exciting trumpeter who can be seen as a bridge style-wise between King Oliver and Louis Armstrong, Tommy Ladnier played early in life in New Orleans and in 1917, moved to Chicago. He worked for a period in St. Louis with Charlie Creath and was part of the Chicago scene in the early '20s, playing with Ollie Powers (1923), Fate Marable, and King Oliver (1924-1925). He also recorded with a variety of blues singers and Lovie Austin's Blues Serenaders. In 1925, Ladnier visited Europe with Sam Wooding and then became a star soloist with Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra (1926-1927), making many excellent records. He returned to Europe with Wooding (1928-1929) and worked with Benny Peyton and Noble Sissle (1930-1931). Ladnier teamed up with Sidney Bechet on a memorable recording session as the New Orleans Feetwarmers (1932) but work was slow and the duo ran a tailor shop (1933-1934) that was more notable for its jam sessions than for its alterations. Ladnier largely dropped out of sight for a few years, leading groups in New Jersey and Connecticut, but was rediscovered in 1938. He recorded the Panassie Sessions with Bechet and his new friend, Mezz Mezzrow, but died suddenly in 1939 from a heart attack.