Mousey Alexander

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Mousey Alexander
Clark Terry (left) and Mousey Alexander (right) in December 1970
Clark Terry (left) and Mousey Alexander (right) in December 1970
Background information
Birth nameElmer Alexander
Born(1922-06-29)June 29, 1922
Gary, Indiana
Died9 October 1988(1988-10-09) (aged 66)
Orlando, Florida
Years active1940s–1980s
LabelsFamous Door

Elmer "Mousey" Alexander (June 19, 1922 – October 9, 1988) was an American jazz drummer.


Alexander was born in Gary, Indiana to Assyrian parents from Iran.[1][2] He grew up in Chicago,[3] eventually studying at the Roy C. Knapp School of Percussion located there.[4]

Prior to serving in the Navy during World War II,[3] Alexander backed up different performers at Chicago jazz clubs, including the singer Billie Holiday.[5] In the late 1940s, Alexander began working with Jimmy McPartland in Chicago, and, in 1952, began playing in the band of pianist Marian McPartland. In the middle of the 1950s, he played and recorded with the Sauter-Finegan Orchestra and with guitarist, Johnny Smith. In 1956, he accompanied Benny Goodman on a tour of the Far East and, subsequently, toured with him up until the early 1970s to additional locations as well, such as to South America and Europe.[5] Later, in the 1950s, he often worked with Bud Freeman and Eddie Condon. He also played with Charlie Ventura, Red Norvo, Clark Terry, Ralph Sutton, Sy Oliver, and Doc Severinsen. Alexander freelanced during the 1960s with several bands. In the 1970s, he recorded for jazz producer Harry Lim and the Famous Door record label, and in 1972, accompanied the singer, Pearl Bailey, when she performed for President Richard Nixon at the White House.[3]

Alexander suffered a stroke in 1980. After a period of recovery, he continued playing jazz until his death in 1988. He died of heart failure and kidney failure.


As leader[edit]

  • The Mouse Roars! (Famous Door, 1979)

As sideman[edit]

With Johnny Smith

  • The Johnny Smith Quartet (Roost, 1955)
  • The Johnny Smith Foursome Vol. II (Roost, 1957)
  • Plus the Trio (Roost, 1960)
  • The Johnny Smith Stan Getz Years (Roulette, 1978)

With Charlie Ventura

  • The New Charlie Ventura in Hi-Fi (Baton, 1956)
  • Plays Hi-Fi Jazz (Tops, 1957)
  • Chazz '77 (Famous Door, 1977)
  • Charlie Ventura Quintet (Hall of Fame, 1978)

With others


  1. ^ "Elmer Alexander", United States census, 1930; Chicago, Cook, Illinois; roll 486, page 7B, line 58, enumeration district 1638, Family History film 1254075, National Archives film number T626. Retrieved on 2022-02-14.
  2. ^ "Famous Assyrian Drumer Appearing at 1960 Chicago Convention". Assyrian Star. 9 (7–8): 5. July–August 1960.
  3. ^ a b c "Elmer (Mousie) Alexander; Jazz Drummer". Los Angeles Times. 1988-10-14. Archived from the original on 2022-02-15. Retrieved 2022-02-15.
  4. ^ Mattingly, Rick (2002). "Albert, Don". In Barry Kernfeld (ed.). The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz (2nd ed.). New York: Grove's Dictionaries. p. 28. ISBN 1561592846.
  5. ^ a b Duffy, Thom (1988-10-11). "Mousey Alexander, Jazz Drummer, Dies". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on 2021-04-17. Retrieved 2022-02-15.