He was born in Boley, Oklahoma, later moving to Los Angeles. He played both baritone and alto sax, and clarinet. During the early-1930s, he was a music band teacher at Jefferson High School in Los Angeles. He later joined Buck Clayton’s 14-piece jazz ensemble (known as the Harlem Gentlemen). They traveled by cruise liner to Shanghai, China where they performed an extended engagement at the elegant Canidrome Ballroom. He would eventually leave Shanghai before the 1937 Second Sino-Japanese War. After returning from Shanghai, he replaced Buster Smith in the Count Basie Orchestra, leaving in 1937 when he was replaced by Earle Warren. He also played in Roy Milton's band. He played in a black U.S. Army band from 1942 to 1946  In later years he played in the traditional jazz band at Disneyland's New Orleans Square with Teddy Buckner and others.
He died in Los Angeles in 1990 at the age of 78.
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With Count Basie
- The Original American Decca Recordings (GRP, 1937-39 )
- Fourteen Census of the United States, 1920 https://archive.org/details/14thcensusofpopu1478unit
- Jazz High by Kirk Silsbee - LA CityBeat Magazine, September 13–19, 2007 
- Yanow, Scott.  (2000). Swing: Third Ear – The Essential Listening Companion. Backbeat Books publishing 
- Jones. Andrew F.  (2001). Yellow Music: Media Culture and Colonial Modernity in the Chinese Jazz Age. Duke University Press 
-  Buck Clayton, Nancy M. Elliott, Buck Clayton’s Jazz World. A&C Black, 1995
- Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music: Count Basie
- National Archives and Records Administration, U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 
- Clora Bryant, Central Avenue Sounds: Jazz in Los Angeles, University of California Press, 1999
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