Zutty Singleton
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Zutty Singleton
Zutty Singleton
Zutty Singleton, Adele Girard (Gottlieb 07861).jpg
Zutty Singleton
(with Adele Girard, harp), 1939
Photo: William P. Gottlieb.
Background information
Arthur James Singleton
Born(1898-05-14)May 14, 1898
Bunkie, Louisiana, United States
OriginNew Orleans, Louisiana
DiedJuly 14, 1975(1975-07-14) (aged 77)
Louis Armstrong, Bubber Miley, Tommy Ladnier, Fats Waller, Jelly Roll Morton, Jimmie Noone

Arthur James "Zutty" Singleton (May 14, 1898 - July 14, 1975) was an American jazz drummer.

Singleton was born in Bunkie, Louisiana, and raised in New Orleans. According to his Jazz Profiles biography:

His unusual nickname, acquired in infancy, is the Creole word for "cute."[1]

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 such bands as those of 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.[2][3][4]:41[5] In 1929 he moved with Armstrong to New York City.

In addition to Armstrong, in New York Singleton played with Bubber Miley, Tommy Ladnier, Fats Waller, Jelly Roll Morton[4]:1044[6] 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.[4]:99

The British thriller writer, Eric Ambler, author of A Coffin for Dimitrios, and other novels, saw Singleton perform in New York in 1939 and became an instant fan. In his autobiography, Here Lies, Ambler mentions getting an autographed photo of the drummer, which he prized.

In 1943, he moved to Los Angeles, where he led his own band, played for motion pictures, and was featured on Orson Welles's CBS Radio series, The Orson Welles Almanac (1944). Later he worked with such jazz musicians as Slim Gaillard, Wingy Manone,[4]:937Eddie Condon, Nappy Lamare, Art Hodes, Oran "Hot Lips" Page, and Max Kaminsky.

Singleton appeared in the following films:[7]


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


  1. ^ Biography, by Steven A. Cerra, at Jazz Profiles. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  2. ^ 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. back cover. JSP CD 314.
  3. ^ Worsfold, Sally-Ann (1991). Louis Armstrong Hot Fives & Sevens Volume 4 (CD booklet). Louis Armstrong and his Orchestra (July & Sept. 1929). London: JSP. back cover. JSP CD 315.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ The Penguin Guide gives the recording year as 1927.
  6. ^ Bowen, Michael. Jelly Roll Morton Volume 4 (CD booklet). Jelly Roll Morton and his Orchestra (July & Dec. 1929). London: JSP. back cover. JSP CD 322.
  7. ^ Biography at Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  8. ^ Margie Singleton at AllMusic. Retrieved 27 August 2015.

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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