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Lucie was born in Emporia, Virginia, United States. He learned banjo, mandolin, and violin as a child and played with his family at dances. Lucie's father, a barber, also played jazz music. He studied banjo in New York City at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, but switched to guitar when he started a professional career.
Lucie spent his career as a rhythm guitarist, seldom taking solos. In 1931, he subbed for Freddy Guy of Duke Ellington's band, being the last surviving musician to have played the Cotton Club with Ellington. He then became an original member of Benny Carter's band in 1932. This association lasted through 1934, including the opening of the Apollo Theater, where Carter's was the house band. He also performed with Fletcher Henderson (1934, 1936–39), the Mills Blue Rhythm Band (1934–36), Coleman Hawkins (1940), and Louis Armstrong (1940–44); he was also the best man at one of Armstrong's weddings. He recorded with all of them except Ellington. He can also be found on record with Teddy Wilson and Billie Holiday, Spike Hughes, Putney Dandridge, Big Joe Turner, Red Allen, and Jelly Roll Morton.
After the big band era passed, he played in a quartet with his wife Nora Lee King, also a guitarist as well as a singer. In the 1950s he played with Luis Russell, Louie Bellson, and Cozy Cole, in addition to copious session work. Lucie continued to record with his wife for his own label, Toy Records, into the 1980s.
Later life and death
Lucie taught at the Borough of Manhattan Community College for three decades, retiring in 2004. He died at age 101, in New York City. At the time of his death, he was the last surviving musician to have recorded with Jelly Roll Morton.
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With Louie Bellson
- The Brilliant Bellson Sound (Verve, 1959)
- Yanow, Scott. "Lawrence Lucie > Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 8 February 2008.
- Eligon, John (19 December 2007). "Living to 100, and Looking Back on a Legacy of New York Jazz". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 March 2008.
- Keepnews, Peter (17 August 2009). "Lawrence Lucie, Guitarist With Jelly Roll Morton, Dies at 101". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 August 2009.
- Lawrence "Larry" Lucie papers, 1927-2004 Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library.
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