Charlie Creath

Born Charles Cyril Creath, this multi-instrumentalist was active on the historic music scene of America in the late 19th century, playing in circus bands, roving theater troupes, and musical comedy shows before establishing a reputation as a jazzman. Creath, even among musicians who are part of active musical families, can be described as having had twice the fun or pleasure depending on your point of view. Marge Creath may have preferred to accompany drummers than brothers. She married Zutty Singleton, and was his wife for forty years. Pauline Creath was always there to help her brother learn alto saxophone and then trumpet. After his 1918 wanderings, the prodigal son had a solid resume and was able to join groups like Walker’s Musical Comedy Show and Hagen Beck-Wallace Circus Band. He also tried his hand at leading his own bands in Seattle. Creath took control of a St. Louis band that had been under the command of Marcella Kyle in 1921. Creath seems to have learned a lot from this experience. However, unlike other leaders who only wanted one group, Creath was a pioneer of franchises and managed several groups that gigged in the St. Louis region under his name. He joined Fate Marable for a job on a riverboat near the end of 1926. He was ill a few years later and resurrected his career as an accordion player and saxophonist in 1930. He was a member of Harvey Lankford’s Synco High Hatters in 1933. In a true twist of fate, he also led a group that included Marable. Creath began to dabble in the fine art and ownership of nightclubs after he moved to Chicago in the latter part of that decade. His later jobs were even more disconnected from music than his earlier ones, like his work in the ’40s inspecting aircraft. Allmusic

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