Sonny Payne

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For the US radio presenter, see "Sunshine" Sonny Payne.

Sonny Payne (May 4, 1926 – January 29, 1979) was an American jazz drummer, best known for his work with Count Basie and Harry James.

His father was Wild Bill Davis's drummer Chris Columbus.[citation needed] After early study with Vic Berton, in 1944 Payne started playing professionally around New York with the Dud and Paul Bascomb band, Hot Lips Page, Earl Bostic (1945–1947), Tiny Grimes (between 1947 and 1950), and Lucille Dixon (1948).

From 1950 to 1953, Payne played with Erskine Hawkins' big band, and led his own band for two years, but in late 1954 he made his most significant move, joining Basie's band for ten years of constant touring and recording.[citation needed]

He left Basie in 1965, leading his own trio, touring with Illinois Jacquet in 1976, and rejoining Basie twice (1965–1966, and 1973–1974). Most of the rest of his career, however, was spent in the Harry James band, which he joined in 1966, and with which he was working at the time of his death.[citation needed]

Sources[edit]

  • Ian Carr, Digby Fairweather, & Brian Priestley. Jazz: The Rough Guide. ISBN 1-85828-528-3
  • Sonny Payne — brief biography by Scott Yanow, for AllMusic.