Frank Butler (musician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Frank Butler
Born (1928-02-18)February 18, 1928
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
Died July 24, 1984(1984-07-24) (aged 56)
Ventura, California, U.S.
Genres Jazz
Instruments Drums
Associated acts Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Elmo Hope, Miles Davis, Art Pepper, Curtis Counce, Harold Land

Frank Butler (February 18, 1928 – July 24, 1984) was an American jazz drummer.

Early life[edit]

Butler was born in Kansas City, Missouri, but later moved west and was associated in large part with the West Coast school. He played the drums in multiple high school bands (including one in Omaha, Nebraska), in local jazz combos, and in USO shows during World War II.[1]


Butler never became well known, but was highly regarded by fellow musicians (in 1958, veteran drummer Jo Jones proclaimed him "the greatest drummer in the world")[2] and performed with numerous jazz notables. His big debut was as the drummer for the Dave Brubeck combo at a 1950 engagement in San Francisco.[3] He went on to perform with Duke Ellington,[1] John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Art Pepper in the 1950s and 1960s. He performed on several television series, including Stars of Jazz with bassist Curtis Counce. The Contemporary label noticed Butler and Counce, and, from 1956 through 1958, captured them together on several Curtis Counce Quintet albums. Sidelined for many years by an addiction to heroin, Butler did not record albums under his own name until the 1970s, when he released two highly regarded albums titled Wheelin' and Dealin' and The Stepper.[3]


Butler died in Ventura, California at the age of 56.


As leader[edit]

As co-leader[edit]

Co-led with Curtis Amy

As sideman[edit]

With Dolo Coker

With Curtis Counce

With Miles Davis

With Kenny Drew

With Teddy Edwards

With Victor Feldman

With Red Garland

With Hampton Hawes

With Elmo Hope

With Fred Katz

With Harold Land

With Phineas Newborn

With Art Pepper

With Ben Webster

With Gerald Wilson

With Xanadu All Stars


  1. ^ a b Feather, p. 150.
  2. ^ Goia, p. 323.
  3. ^ a b Chadbourne.


  • Feather, Leonard (1960). The Encyclopedia of Jazz. Horizon Press. 
  • Gioia, Ted (1992). West Coast Jazz: Modern Jazz in California 1945-1960. Oxford University Press. 

External links[edit]