Joe Comfort (July 18, 1917 – October 29, 1988) was an American jazz bassist.
Comfort, from a musically oriented Los Angeles family, taught himself bass and began performing with Lionel Hampton's orchestra in the late 1920s, and later began performing with Nat King Cole in a partnership that would continue until the early 1950s. Comfort participated in numerous studio dates in the late 1950s and early 1960s, with such luminaries as Sammy Davis, Jr., Benny Carter and Nancy Wilson. Joe also performed with Frank Sinatra but Joe's adversity to flying, kept him in and around Los Angeles.
Joe's mother, Frances Comfort, was born in Mississippi and played the organ during black and white silent movies. George Comfort, Sr., Joe's father, taught music at Alcorn State University and made sure all his children could read music. Joe's brother, George Comfort was a singer, a music teacher and actor who performed with Dorothy Dandridge in Porgy and Bess, and many other films. George Comfort was active in film and in television until his seventies; his most memorable roles included a role in Baretta with Robert Blake.
Charles Mingus, in his autobiography, Beneath the Underdog, states that when he was a child living in the Watts section of Los Angeles, it was Joe Comfort who taught the young Mingus how to play the double bass.
Joe Comfort played as a sideman on many records and films including the 1941 Fred Astaire movie You'll Never Get Rich. He is featured on "March Milastaire (A-Stairable Rag)": another Porter number contrasting march and jazz rhythms, danced in a "tour de force" tap solo by Astaire, who expresses his sudden joy of being in love by using his taps to make as much noise as possible. This time the purely instrumental African-American backing group comprised the twenty-year-old Chico Hamilton on drums, Buddy Collette (clarinet), Red Mack (trumpet), Alfred Grant (guitar) and Joe Comfort (jug). He also played at many after-hours clubs in Los Angeles including Stuff Crouch's and Brothers on Adams.
Joe is seen here playing with Nat King Cole trio on television. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iq0XJCJ1Srw
Joe Comfort died in Los Angeles. Pam Ward, Los Angeles writer/graphic designer and Joe Comfort's great-niece reported that "Uncle Joe's funeral was a giant celebration of L.A. jazz's musicians, a Central Avenue homecoming which included a stellar performance by trumpeter Clora Bryant".
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With Georgie Auld
- In the Land of Hi-Fi with Georgie Auld and His Orchestra (EmArcy, 1955)
With Nat King Cole
- L-O-V-E (Capitol, 1965)
With Buddy Collette
With Sammy Davis Jr
- It's All Over but the Swingin' (Decca, 1957)
With Harry Edison
- Harry Edison Quartet at the Haig 1953 (Fresh Sound Records, 2003)
With Stan Kenton
- Kenton / Wagner (Capitol, 1964)
With Junior Mance
- Get Ready, Set, Jump!!! (Capitol, 1964)
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