Dave Tough

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Dave Tough
Dave Tough 1947 (Gottlieb 08701).jpg
Dave Tough in Eddie Condon's basement, c. 1947
Photography by William P. Gottlieb
Background information
Birth nameDavid Jarvis Tough
Born(1907-04-26)April 26, 1907
Oak Park, Illinois, U.S.
DiedDecember 9, 1948(1948-12-09) (aged 41)
Newark, New Jersey
Years active1925–1948

Dave Tough (April 26, 1907 – December 9, 1948, was an American jazz drummer associated with Dixieland and swing jazz in the 1930s and 1940s.


Born in Oak Park, Illinois, Tough was a friend of Bud Freeman, who was part of a group of musicians known as the Austin High School Gang in Chicago. In 1925, he became a professional musician, playing with Jack Gardner, Art Kassel, Sig Meyers, and Husk O'Hare's Wolverines. After two years in Europe, he returned home and played with Benny Goodman and Red Nichols.[1]

He left music for three years until 1935, then joined the big bands of Ray Noble, Tommy Dorsey, Red Norvo, Bunny Berigan, and Benny Goodman.[1][2] He played Dixieland jazz with Bud Freeman, Jack Teagarden, Mezz Mezzrow, and Joe Marsala. In the 1940s, he played in a naval band led by Artie Shaw, then joined Woody Herman's big band. He worked with Eddie Condon, Jerry Gray, Muggsy Spanier, and Jazz at the Philharmonic.[1]

Tough struggled with alcoholism throughout his life. He died at the age of 41 after falling down and hitting his head on the street in Newark, New Jersey.[1]

Critical reception[edit]

Dave Tough has been described as "the most important of the drummers of the Chicago circle".[2]

Awards and honors[edit]

In 2000, he was inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame.


With Benny Goodman

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Yanow, Scott. "Dave Tough". AllMusic. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  2. ^ a b Berendt, Joachim E. (1976). The Jazz Book. Paladin., p. 286