Johnny Dunn

Johnny Dunn was the reigning king of New York’s Jazz trumpeters before Louis Armstrong left Chicago in 1924 to join Fletcher Henderson’s Orchestra. W.C. Handy discovered Dunn in Memphis. Handy hired him in 1916 to work for him until he moved to 1920 to take over Mamie Smith’s Jazz Hounds. Bubber Miley replaced Dunn after he left Mamie Smith’s band. Dunn formed his own band, the Original Jazz Hounds. Edith Wilson was the singer. Edith Wilson became famous later as Aunt Jemima in Quaker Oats commercials. Edith Wilson had been with Dunn while he was playing in the Plantation Revue. It was a huge success and was even performed in London. After returning to America, she joined Fletcher Henderson’s Orchestra. Dunn was involved in show business side music all his life and played in musical reviews based around Florence Mills. He recorded sides with The Plantation Orchestra in London in 1927, and it seems that all of the revues he worked in ended up there. Dunn enjoyed Europe and spent the majority of his life there. While overseas, he was a member of the Southern Syncopated Orchestra with Sidney Bechet as well as Dave Peyton and the Noble Sissle Orchestra. He was also able to play trumpet in many other shows that featured Edith Wilson, Florence Mills, and Josephine Baker. He was in New York again in 1928, where he had some memorable sessions with Willie “The Lion”, Jelly Roll Morton and Fats Waller, the 1920s Jazz pianists. In 1928, he returned to Europe with The Noble Sissle Orchestra, and then moved to Denmark and the Netherlands for many years. Dunn died of tuberculosis in Paris in 1937. from

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