Skippy Williams

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Elmer, or Elbert, Skippy Williams (July 27, 1916 – February 28, 1994) was a jazz tenor saxophonist, and musical arranger.

First credited as the arranger for some July 12, 1939 recordings for Earl Hines and His Orchestra, Skippy Williams is best known as the substitute for Ben Webster in Duke Ellington's orchestra. Replacing Webster in August 1943, Williams appears on Ellinton's Carnegie Hall recordings in December 1943.[1] He left Ellington in May 1944, to start his own band[2] and was replaced by Big Al Sears.[3][4]

In the mid-1940s he gave tenor sax classes to Pepper Adams in Rochester, NY,[5] and was working with Thelonious Monk in 1946, credited as bandleader for Monk.[6]

Williams also worked with Art Tatum, Fletcher Henderson, Count Basie, Lucky Millinder, Bob Chester, and, according to some sources, played tenor sax on the original recording of Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock", and "Shake, Rattle and Roll",[3] a claim also made by other musicians, however this is incorrect as multiple sources as well as official documentation list Joey d'Ambrosio as the sax player on those recordings.[7][8]


  1. ^
  2. ^ The DEMS Bulletin (1980) - Duke Ellington Music Society.
  3. ^ a b The DEMS Bulletin (1983) - Duke Ellington Music Society.
  4. ^ Lawrence, A. H. Duke Ellington and His World, Routledge, 2003, ISBN 0-415-96925-5, ISBN 978-0-415-96925-3.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Monk's sidemen" at
  7. ^ Haley, John W.; Von Hoelle, John (1990). Sound and Glory. Dyne-American. ISBN 1878970003. 
  8. ^ Swenson, John (1983). Bill Haley: The Daddy of Rock and Roll. Stein & Day. ISBN 0812881168.