Tommy Benford

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Tommy Benford
Birth name Thomas Benford
Born (1905-04-19)April 19, 1905
Charleston, West Virginia
Died March 24, 1994(1994-03-24) (aged 88)
Mount Vernon, New York
Genres Jazz
Instruments Drum kit
Associated acts Jelly Roll Morton

Thomas "Tommy" Benford (April 19, 1905 – March 24, 1994)[1][2][3] was an American jazz drummer.


Tommy Benford was born in Charleston, West Virginia.[1][2] He and his older brother, tuba player Bill Benford, were both orphans who studied music at the Jenkins Orphanage in Charleston, South Carolina.[4] He went on tour with the school band, traveling with them to England in 1914.[4]

In 1920, he was working with the Green River Minstrel Show.[4] Benford recorded with Jelly Roll Morton[5] in 1928 and 1930. He also played with Duke Ellington, Fats Waller and Eddie South.[4][5] During the 1930s he stayed in Europe for a longer time, where he recorded with Coleman Hawkins, Bill Coleman, Joe Turner, Django Reinhardt, and Sidney Bechet. During the 1940s he worked with Noble Sissle, with Snub Mosley and Bob Wilber in New York City. At Jimmy Ryan's club he gigged with Rex Stewart. During the 1950s he toured with Muggsy Spanier and with Jimmy Archey.

In later life he played with Stan McDonald. Benford died on March 24, 1994, at Mount Vernon Hospital in Mount Vernon, New York.[2]


  1. ^ a b Carr, Peter; Vollmer, Al; Wright, Laurie. "Have Drum, Will Travel: An Interview with Tommy Benford". Monrovia Sound Studio. Storyville. Retrieved 2012-06-20. 
  2. ^ a b c Watrous, Peter (1994-03-29). "Tommy Benford, Jazz Dummer, 88; Played With Stars". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-06-20. 
  3. ^ Benford gives April 19, 1905 as his date of birth, and obituaries indicate he died at age 88. allmusic gives 1895 as year of birth.
  4. ^ a b c d Chadbourne, Eugene. Tommy Benford at AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-06-20.
  5. ^ a b "Jazz At Gravesite…Fulfill Wish 68 Years Later". The Western Queens Gazette. 1985-04-10. Retrieved 2012-03-22.