Photo:William P. Gottlieb.
|Birth name||William Wells|
|Also known as||Dickie Wells|
|Born||c.June 10, 1907|
|Died||November 12, 1985(aged 78)|
|Associated acts||Count Basie, Bill Coleman|
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.
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With Count Basie
- The Original American Decca Recordings (GRP, 1937-39 )
- Goin' to Kansas City (Riverside, 1960)
With Dizzy Gillespie
- The Complete RCA Victor Recordings (Bluebird, 1937-1949, )
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.
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