Frank Butler (musician)
February 18, 1928|
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
|Died||July 24, 1984
Ventura, California, U.S.
|Associated acts||Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Elmo Hope, Miles Davis, Art Pepper, Curtis Counce, Harold Land|
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.
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") 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. He went on to perform with Duke Ellington, 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.
Butler died in Ventura, California at the age of 56.
Co-led with Curtis Amy
- Groovin' Blue (Pacific Jazz, 1961)
With Dolo Coker
With Curtis Counce
- The Curtis Counce Group (Contemporary, 1956)
- You Get More Bounce with Curtis Counce! (Contemporary, 1957)
- Carl's Blues (Contemporary, 1957)
- Sonority (Contemporary, 1957-8 )
- Exploring the Future (Dooto, 1958)
With Miles Davis
- Seven Steps to Heaven (Columbia, 1963)
With Kenny Drew
With Teddy Edwards
- Feelin's (Muse, 1974)
With Victor Feldman
- Soviet Jazz Themes (Äva, 1962)
With Hampton Hawes
With Elmo Hope
With Fred Katz
- Fred Katz and his Jammers (Decca, 1959)
With Harold Land
With Phineas Newborn
- The Newborn Touch (Contemporary, 1964)
With Art Pepper
With Ben Webster
- Ben Webster at the Renaissance (Contemporary, 1960 )
With Gerald Wilson
- Everywhere (Pacific Jazz, 1968)
With Xanadu All Stars
- Xanadu in Africa (Xanadu, 1980) with Al Cohn, Billy Mitchell and Leroy Vinnegar
- Night Flight to Dakar (Xanadu, 1980) with Al Cohn, Billy Mitchell and Leroy Vinnegar
- Feather, p. 150.
- Goia, p. 323.
- Feather, Leonard (1960). The Encyclopedia of Jazz. Horizon Press.
- Gioia, Ted (1992). West Coast Jazz: Modern Jazz in California 1945-1960. Oxford University Press.
- Chadbourne, Eugene. Biography of Frank Butler at AllMusic
- Chell, Samuel (June 11, 2007). "Curtis Counce/Jack Sheldon/Harold Land/Carl Perkins/Frank Butler Quintet: Complete Studio Recordings". all about jazz.