Zutty Singleton

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Zutty Singleton
Zutty Singleton with Adele Girard on harp in 1939; photo: William P. Gottlieb
Zutty Singleton with Adele Girard on harp in 1939; photo: William P. Gottlieb
Background information
Birth nameArthur James Singleton
BornBunkie, Louisiana, U.S.
(1898-05-14)May 14, 1898
DiedJuly 14, 1975(1975-07-14) (aged 77)
New York City
Years active1915–1970

Arthur James "Zutty" Singleton (May 14, 1898 – July 14, 1975)[1] was an American jazz drummer.


Tommy Potter, Max Kaminsky, Benny Morton, Zutty Singleton, Adele Girard, Teddy Wilson, and Joe Marsala, National Press Club, Washington, D.C. in 1939

Singleton was born in Bunkie, Louisiana, United States,[1] and raised in New Orleans. According to his Jazz Profiles biography, his unusual nickname, acquired in infancy, is the Creole word for "cute".[2] He was working professionally with Steve Lewis by 1915. He served with the United States Navy in World War I. After returning to New Orleans he worked with Papa Celestin, Big Eye Louis Nelson, John Robichaux, and Fate Marable. He left for St. Louis, Missouri, to play in Charlie Creath's band, then moved to Chicago.

In Chicago, Singleton played with Doc Cook, Dave Peyton, Jimmie Noone, and theater bands, then joined Louis Armstrong's band with Earl Hines. In 1928 and 1929, he performed on landmark recordings with Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five.[3][4][5]: 41 [6] In 1929 he moved with Armstrong to New York City.

In addition to Armstrong in New York he played with Bubber Miley, Tommy Ladnier, Fats Waller, Jelly Roll Morton[5]: 1044 [7] and Otto Hardwick. He also played in the band backing Bill Robinson. In 1934, Singleton returned to Chicago. He returned to New York in 1937, working with Mezz Mezzrow and Sidney Bechet.[5]: 99 

In 1943, he moved to Los Angeles, where he led his own band, played for motion pictures, and appeared on the radio program The Orson Welles Almanac (1944). He also worked with Slim Gaillard, Wingy Manone,[5]: 937  Eddie Condon, Nappy Lamare, Art Hodes, Oran "Hot Lips" Page, and Max Kaminsky.


Singleton retired after suffering a stroke in 1970. He died in New York City in 1975 at the age of 77.[1] His wife Margie (sister of Charlie Creath) died in 1982 at the age of 82.[8]


  1. ^ a b c Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. pp. 2279/80. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.
  2. ^ Biography, by Steven A. Cerra, at Jazz Profiles. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  3. ^ Worsfold, Sally-Ann (1991). Louis Armstrong Hot Fives & Sevens Volume 3 (CD booklet). Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five (June–July 1928)/Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra (Dec. 1928)/Louis Armstrong and His Savoy Ballroom Five (Dec. 1928). London: JSP Records. back cover. JSP CD 314.
  4. ^ Worsfold, Sally-Ann (1991). Louis Armstrong Hot Fives & Sevens Volume 4 (CD booklet). Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra (July & Sept. 1929). London: JSP Record. JSP CD 315.
  5. ^ a b c d Cook, Richard; Brian Morton (2008) [1992]. The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings. The Penguin Guide to Jazz (9th ed.). New York: Penguin. ISBN 978-0-14-103401-0.
  6. ^ The Penguin Guide gives the recording year as 1927.
  7. ^ Bowen, Michael. Jelly Roll Morton Volume 4 (CD booklet). Jelly Roll Morton and His Orchestra (July & Dec. 1929). London: JSP Records. back cover. JSP CD 322.
  8. ^ "Margie Singleton". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 May 2020.