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Tommy Stevenson

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Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

This trumpeter was nicknamed "Steve" but should not be confused with the saxophonist Steve Stevenson whose baritone work was heard with arranger and bandleader Oliver Nelson. Trumpeter Tommy Stevenson was active in an earlier era, his short career taking place during the heart of the swing years. Not a great deal is known about his background other than the year of his birth and the fact that beginning in 1933 he was part of the Jimmie Lunceford brass section for several years.

In the summer of 1935 the trumpeter began accompanying singer Blanche Calloway, sister of the better-known Cab Calloway. Stevenson recorded in 1936 with Don Redman. Then discographers pick up his trail of valve spit with various outfits involving masterful tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins. Stevenson also was part of a small group fronted by amusing singer and guitarist Slim Gaillard during the early '40s. Following a stint with Lucky Millinder it was bad luck that awaited the trumpeter in the Cootie Williams band. It was something much worse than the "cooties" of childhood games that Stevenson caught on tour with Williams, a deadly strain of lobar pneumonia to be exact.