Dicky Wells

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Dicky Wells
Dicky Wells Photo:William P. Gottlieb
Dicky Wells
Photo:William P. Gottlieb
Background information
Birth nameWilliam Wells
Born(1907-06-10)June 10, 1907
Centerville, Tennessee, U.S.
DiedNovember 12, 1985(1985-11-12) (aged 78)
New York City
GenresJazz
Occupation(s)Musician
InstrumentsTrombone
Associated actsCount Basie

William Wells (June 10, 1907 – November 12, 1985), known professionally as Dicky Wells (sometimes Dickie Wells), was an American jazz trombonist.[1][2]

Career[edit]

Dickie Wells is believed to have been born on June 10, 1907 in Centerville, Tennessee, United States.[3] His brother was trombonist Henry Wells. He moved to New York City in 1926, and became a member of the Lloyd Scott band.[3]

He played with Count Basie between 1938–1945 and 1947–1950.[3] He also played with Cecil Scott, Spike Hughes, Fletcher Henderson, Benny Carter, Teddy Hill, Jimmy Rushing, Buck Clayton and Ray Charles.[3] In the middle years of the 1960s, Wells toured and performed extensively, and the onset of alcoholism caused him personal problems which led to his semi-retirement. Publication of his autobiography in 1973 helped to steer Wells back to his profession.[3]

Dicky Wells (left) and brother Henry Wells at Eddie Condon's of New York City in January 1947

In his later years, Wells suffered a severe beating during a mugging that affected his memory, but he recovered and continued to perform.[3] 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.

Death[edit]

Dicky Wells (left) and brother Henry Wells at Eddie Condon's of New York City in January 1947

He died of cancer on November 12, 1985, in New York City.[3] Shortly after his death, Wells's family donated his trombone to the Rutgers University Institute of Jazz Studies.

Discography[edit]

As leader[edit]

  • Bones for the King (Felsted, 1958)
  • Trombone Four-in-Hand (Felsted, 1959)
  • Chatter Jazz with Rex Stewart (RCA Victor, 1959)
  • Heavy Duty! (Vocalion, 1965)
  • Dicky Wells in Paris 1937 (Prestige, 1968)
  • Lonesome Road (Uptown, 1981)
  • The Stanley Dance Sessions (Lone Hill, 2005)
  • Dicky Wells with the Alex Welsh Band (Jazzology, 2011)

As sideman[edit]

With Count Basie

  • Blues by Basie (Columbia, 1956)
  • The Count (RCA Camden, 1958)
  • The Count Swings Out (Coral, 1959)

With Buck Clayton

With Jimmy Rushing

With others

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Dicky Wells | American musician". Encyclopedia Britannica.
  2. ^ "Dicky Wells biography". Biography.com. Archived from the original on January 3, 2013. Retrieved October 29, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Colin Larkin, ed. (2002). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Fifties Music (Third ed.). Virgin Books. p. 484. ISBN 1-85227-937-0.

External links[edit]