Cuba Austin

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Cuba Austin
Charleston, West Virginia, U.S.
Died1961 (aged 54–55)

Cuba Austin (1906 – 1961) was an American jazz drummer.

Early life[edit]

Austin was born in Charleston, West Virginia.[1]


In 1926, Austin became a member of William McKinney's group, McKinney's Cotton Pickers.[1][2] Austin joined the group after its formation, taking over from McKinney himself on drums.[1] The group recorded frequently, both under the names Cotton Pickers and Chocolate Dandies.[3]

In 1931, the Cotton Pickers split into two ensembles, with Austin heading one of them, which took the name, The Original Cotton Pickers.[1] When he disbanded this group in 1934, he moved to Baltimore and worked on his own,[1] as well as in an orchestra with Rivers Chambers.[3]

Austin was an influential figure in early jazz; Gene Krupa called Austin one of his major influences.[3] Austin was one of the first drummers to use the newly invented hi hat in hot and swing jazz.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 129. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.
  2. ^ Johnson, Bruce (2019-10-16). Jazz Diaspora: Music and Globalisation. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-351-26666-6.
  3. ^ a b c d "Cuba Austin | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved August 14, 2021.