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On the Sunny Side of the Street

Doc Cheatham

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June 13, 1905 - June 2, 1997


Doc Cheatham performs in 1994 accompanied by the "Ellis Marsalis Trio."


Doc Cheatham, trumpet
Ellis Marsalis, piano
Reginald Veal, bass
Martin Butler, drums

Born and bred in Memphis, Tennessee Adolphus Cheatham was first introduced to jazz through early recordings and was touring with bands as a trumpeter by 1920.

He started out performing on tenor and soprano saxophone at local theaters in a style influenced by Henry Busse and Johnny Dunn.

Although he deviated from his families plan for him to become a pharmacist he would retain the nickname "Doc" throughout his musical career.

Relocating to Chicago in 1924 he found a mentor in the great King Oliver and later Louis Armstrong.

Doc Cheatham played with the bands Albert Wynn band and would fill in for Louis Armstrong at the Vendome Theater on occasion before moving to Philadelphia in 1927 where he worked with Wilbur de Paris.

The following year found Cheatham in New York where he performed with the band of drummer Chick Webb before embarking on a European tour with Sam Wooding and the "Chocolate Kiddies Orchestra."

Returning to the Untied States in 1930 he played with "McKinney's Cotton Pickers" under the leadership of Don Redman prior to becoming Cab Calloway's lead trumpet
from 1932 to 1939.

After leaving Calloway Doc would perform with many jazz greats including Benny Carter, Claude Hopkins, Fletcher Henderson, and Teddy Wilson and began playing with Latin bands following W. W. II.

In his later years Doc Cheatham toured extensively and held a regular Sunday night engagement at the Sweet Basil jazz club in Greenwich Village until his death.

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