George Wettling

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George Wettling
George Wettling Gottlieb.jpg
Background information
Birth nameGeorge Godfrey Wettling
Born(1907-11-28)November 28, 1907
Topeka, Kansas, U.S.
OriginChicago, Illinois, U.S.
DiedJune 6, 1968(1968-06-06) (aged 60)
New York City, U.S.
GenresJazz, swing, Dixieland
Years active1920s–1950s

George Godfrey Wettling (November 28, 1907 – June 6, 1968) was an American jazz drummer.[1]

He was born in Topeka, Kansas, United States, and from his early teens was living in Chicago, Illinois.[2] He was one of the young Chicagoans who fell in love with jazz as a result of hearing King Oliver's band (with Louis Armstrong on second cornet) at Lincoln Gardens in the early 1920s. Oliver's drummer, Baby Dodds, made a particular and lasting impression on Wettling.[3]

Ernie Caceres, Bobby Hackett, Freddie Ohms, and George Wettling, Nick's, NYC, 1940s.
Photography by William P. Gottlieb

Wettling went on to work with the big bands of Artie Shaw, Bunny Berigan, Red Norvo, Paul Whiteman, and Chico Marx, but he was at his best with bands led by Eddie Condon, Muggsy Spanier, and himself.[2] In these small bands, Wettling demonstrated the arts of dynamics and responding to a particular soloist that he had learned from Baby Dodds.

Wettling was a member of some of Condon's bands, which included Wild Bill Davison, Billy Butterfield, Edmond Hall, Peanuts Hucko, Pee Wee Russell, Cutty Cutshall, Gene Schroeder, Ralph Sutton, and Walter Page. In 1957, he toured England with a Condon band that included Davison, Cutshall, and Schroeder.

Toward the end of his life, Wettling, like his friend clarinetist Pee Wee Russell, took up painting and was influenced by the American cubist Stuart Davis.[2] He has been said to have believed that "jazz drumming and abstract painting seemed different for him only from the point of view of craftsmanship: in both fields he felt rhythm to be decisive".[4]


  1. ^ Yanow, Scott. "George Wettling". AllMusic. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 2663. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.
  3. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Drummerworld: George Wettling". Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  4. ^ Berendt, Joachim E. The Jazz Book. Paladin. p. 286.

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