Dicky Wells

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Dicky Wells
Dickie Wells.jpg
Dicky Wells
Photo:William P. Gottlieb.
Background information
Birth name William Wells
Also known as Dickie Wells
Born c.(1907-06-10)June 10, 1907
Died November 12, 1985(1985-11-12) (aged 78)
Genres Jazz
Instruments Trombone
Associated acts Count Basie, Bill Coleman

William Wells (c.June 10, 1907 - November 12, 1985), more famous under the name of Dicky Wells (sometimes Dickie Wells), was an American jazz trombonist.[1][2]

Dickie Wells was born in Centerville, Tennessee; his brother was trombonist Henry Wells. He moved to New York City in 1926, and became a member of the Lloyd Scott band.

He played with Count Basie between 1938–1945 and 1947-1950. He also played with Cecil Scott, Spike Hughes, Fletcher Henderson, Benny Carter, Teddy Hill, Jimmy Rushing, Buck Clayton and Ray Charles.

In his later years, Wells suffered a severe beating that affected his memory, but he recovered and continued to perform. He played frequently at the West End jazz club at 116th and Broadway, most often with a band called The Countsmen, led by alto saxophonist Earle Warren, his colleague from Count Basie days. A trademark was Wells's "pepper pot" mute which he made himself.

He died on November 12, 1985, in New York City. Shortly after his death, Wells's family donated his trombone to Rutgers University.


With Count Basie

With Buck Clayton

With Dizzy Gillespie

With Buddy Tate


  1. ^ Entry in Encyclopædia Britannica
  2. ^ "Dicky Wells biography". biography.com. Retrieved 29 October 2013. 

External links[edit]

Wells had two stints with Basie - 1937-42 and again after the war. His playing during the first was brilliant and established him as a major trombonist and influence on other trombonists. After he rejoined Basie his playing was insipid and uninspired, probably due to alcohol abuse. This same change in his playing is also evident in later recordings as a studio musician for Jimmy Rushing in the late 'fifties.