Barrett Deems

Born March 1, 1914, in Springfield, Illinois. He was most well-known for his role as an anchor for Louis Armstrong’s bands. Armstrong used to call him “The Kid” and he died September 15, 1998 at Columbus Grant Hospital. He performed with the Barrett Deems 18 piece Big Band, which included trombonist Audrey Morrison and trumpeters Brad Goode, Mike McLaughlin and Richie Corpsolongo. The group performed every week at The Note and Elbo Room. He was still a talented musician at age 80. However, he did sometimes wander off to spend the night at the bar. (The backup drummer is great, though!) Deems was once called “the world’s fastest drummer”. He started his career in the 1920s and led several Chicago-area bands. After that, he joined Joe Venuti (1937), with whom he worked 7 years. Then he worked with Jimmy Dorsey (1945), Red Norvo (488) and Muggsy Spanier (51), Armstrong, Jack Teagarden (1960-4). He was also the leader of Chicago’s Brass Rail Club, and worked with Red Norvo (1948), Jimmy Dorsey (1945), and Muggsy Spanier (1951). He can be heard on Louis Armstrong’s Satch Play’s Fats and Louis Armstrong Plays W.C. Handy, as well as his appearance on the 1956 film High Society. from

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