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Chick Webb


Chick Webb represented the triumph from the human being spirit in jazz and existence. Hunchbacked, little in stature, nearly a dwarf with a big face and wide shoulder blades, Webb fought off congenital tuberculosis from the spine to be remembered as probably one of the most competitive drummers and bandleaders from the big music group period. Perched high upon a system, he utilized custom-made pedals, goose-neck cymbal holders, a 28-in . bass drum and a multitude of other percussion devices to generate thundering solos of the difficulty and energy that paved just how for Buddy High (who also studied Webb intensely) and Louie Bellson. Alas, Webb didn’t get a reasonable shake on information; Decca’s primitive documenting techniques cannot adequately catch his magnificent technique and wide powerful range. He cannot examine music, but that didn’t prevent him either, for he memorized each agreement perfectly. Although his music group didn’t become as important and revered over time as a few of its contemporaries, it even so was feared in its period for its fights of the rings in Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom; a well-known encounter using the high-flying Benny Goodman clothing at its top (with Gene Krupa within the drummer’s seat) still left the latter music group drained and defeated. William Henry Webb bought his first group of drums along with his profits being a newsboy, and he started playing in rings on pleasure ships. After shifting to NY in 1925, he led rings in various night clubs before settling set for longer regular runs on the Savoy from 1931. Although Benny Carter and Johnny Hodges used the music group in early stages, the Webb music group was oddly brief on main soloists during its heyday from your middle-’30s onward; the youthful alto sax participant Louis Jordan produced the largest impression after departing the music group. But the music group made up for this with a sharp ensemble sound, Webb’s disciplined, ferociously traveling drum pyrotechnics, trumpeter Taft Jordan’s impressions of Louis Armstrong, & most of all, some solid compositions and graphs by Edgar Sampson (“Blue Lou” and “Stomping in the Savoy” included in this). In 1935, Webb employed the teenaged Ella Fitzgerald after she received a talent competition in the Apollo Theatre, became her legal guardian, and rebuilt his display around the vocalist, who offered him along with his biggest strike record, “A Tisket-A-Tasket,” in 1938. The band’s popularity continued to develop, fueled by its status like a giant-killer within the Savoy fights and a continuing string of Decca 78s that presented such irresistible figures as “T’aint EVERYTHING YOU Do (It is the Method That You Perform It)” as well as the B-side of “Tasket,” “Liza.” But Webb’s precarious wellness began to cave in, and following a main procedure in Johns Hopkins Medical center in Baltimore, he passed away (his last terms reportedly had been, “I am sorry, I’ve surely got to proceed.”). After Webb’s loss of life, Fitzgerald fronted the music group until it finally split up in 1942.

Quick Facts

Full Name Chick Webb
Died June 16, 1939, Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Profession Drummer, Musician, Bandleader
Nationality American
Spouse Martha Loretta Ferguson
Parents Marie Johnson Webb, William H. Webb
Music Songs Stomping at the Savoy, Sing Me a Swing Song, Harlem Congo, Strictly Jive, Go Harlem, Let's Get Together, Spinnin' The Webb, Midnight in a Madhouse, When I Get Low I Get High, I Can't Dance, Who Ya Hunchin', Blues in My Heart, Blue Lou, Sweet Sue, Just You, What a Shuffle, Don't Be That Way, Squeeze Me, I'm Just A Jitterbug, Blue Minor, Tain't What You Do, That Rhythm Man, Dog Bottom, Lindyhopper's Delight, The Dipsy Doodle, Why Should I Beg for Love?, Gee but You're Swell, In the Groove at the Grove, Wake Up and Live, I Got A Guy, Love and Kisses, Rusty Hinge, That Naughty Waltz
Albums The Golden Swing Years, The Great, The Chronological Classics: Chick Webb and His Orchestra 1935-1938, Chick Webb and His Savoy Ballroom Orchestra: The King of the Drums (1939), Chick Webb Selected Favorites, Vol. 6, Midnight in Harlem, Clap Hands, Midnite In Harlem, Standing Tall, The Chronological Classics: Chick Webb and His Orchestra 1929-1934, Chick Webb & His Orchestra, The Legend, Labour, Greatest Of Big Bands Vol 7 - Chick Webb - Part 1, Introducing Chick Webb, Wacky!, Ella Fitzgerald And Chick Webb, Ella Sings, Chick Swings, Swingsation: Ella Fitzgerald With Chick Webb, Blue Minor, Spinning The Web, The Complete Chick Webb & Ella Fitzgerald Decca Sessions (1934-1941), Jazz Figures / Ella Fitzgerald, Volume 1 (1936-1940), Dateline Rome, Spinnin' the Groove, The Legend, Shine Like Diamonds, A Little Bit Later On, Last Collection (Best Songs Remastered), Treasures Big Band Classics, Vol. 38: Chick Webb, Chick Webb, 20 Essential Classics, Unforgettable Sentimental Songs, Big Band Legends, Ella and Chick Webb, Vol. 2 (Mono Version), Chick's Star, Vol. 1, Precious Top Hits: Chick Webb & His Orchestra, Chick Webb and His Orchestra Selected Favorites Volume 1, Top 50 Classics - The Very Best of Chick Webb, Lonesome Moments, Chick Webb And His Orchestra's Rusty Hinge, Clap Hands! Here Comes Chick (Volume 1), I Got Rhythm The Best of Ella and Chick, Harlem Congo, Rusty Hinge, Rhythm Man, Love Caught, Super Bright Hits, Chick Webb 1935-37, Dreams Come True, In the Groove, I Found My Love Outside, The Quintessence Webb Fitzgerald 1929-1939: New York
Movies Illusions

  • Facts
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1 Reputedly Chick's last words were "I'm sorry, I gotta go!".
2 Chick started his first band in New York in 1926, which included among its sidemen Johnny Hodges, Mario Bauza and Benny Carter. Duke Ellington helped secure their first engagement at the Black Bottom Club in Manhattan. By the early 30's, Chick's band regularly played the Savoy and Roseland ballrooms. In 1935, he hired the then unknown singer Ella Fitzgerald, which further cemented his nationwide popularity (she was discovered by Webb sideman Bardu Ali at an amateur contest at the Harlem Opera House). In 1937, he challenged Benny Goodman to a 'dance battle' at the Savoy, drawing a crowd of more than 5000, most of whom declared Webb the winner.
3 Gene Krupa regarded Chick as his greatest inspiration and changed his style of drumming to emulate Webb's.
4 After Webb's untimely death (in 1939 at the age of thirty-seven) from tuberculosis of the spine, Ella Fitzgerald took over leadership of the band for another three years, with Ted McCrea and Eddie Barefield acting as musical directors.
5 Recorded for Decca, Okeh and Columbia.
6 His band's theme song was "I May Be Wrong".
7 Drummer and bandleader.
8 Inducted into the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame in 1985.
9 He is buried at Arbutus Memorial Park in Arbutus, Baltimore Co., Maryland. It lists his erroneous birth date.
10 No one knew Webb's true birth date from before the time of his death in 1939 until September 2005 when filmmaker Eric Bruno Borgman discovered the correct year. This means that February 10, 2005 was the 100th anniversary of his birth and it went by without any recognition.
11 Had tuberculosis of the spine when young which caused him to have a twisted spine leaving him hunchbacked.



Joy 2015/I performer: "I Want To Be Happy"
The Age of Adaline 2015 performer: "I'm Just a Jitterbug"
The Restorers {They Were All Volunteers} 2011 Documentary writer: "Stompin' at the Savoy"
Bridesmaids 2011/I performer: "At the Darktown Strutters' Ball"
Mildred Pierce 2011 TV Mini-Series writer - 1 episode
Frankie Manning: Ambassador of the Lindy Hop 2010 Video documentary short writer: "Stompin' At The Savoy"
I Capture the Castle 2003 writer: "Stompin' At The Savoy" - as Webb
Livshunger 2002 TV Series 1 episode
Small Time Crooks 2000 writer: "Stompin' at the Savoy"
The Grass Harp 1995 writer: "STOMPIN' AT THE SAVOY", "I'M UP A TREE"
Malcolm X 1992 writer: "Chew Chew Chew"
Lucky Luke 1991 writer: "Stompin' At The Savoy" - as Webb
When Harry Met Sally... 1989 writer: "Stompin' At The Savoy"
In the Mood 1987 writer: "STOMPIN' AT THE SAVOY"
Stardust Memories 1980 performer: "If Dreams Come True" 1936
Saturday Night Live 1979 TV Series writer - 1 episode
F.I.S.T. 1978 writer: "Stompin' at the Savoy" - uncredited
Slither 1973 "Stompin' At The Savoy"
Save the Tiger 1973 writer: "Stompin' At The Savoy"
Army of Shadows 1969 writer: "Stompin' At The Savoy" - uncredited
Frank Sinatra: A Man and His Music + Ella + Jobim 1967 TV Special music: "Stompin' at the Savoy" - uncredited
The Danny Kaye Show 1966 TV Series writer - 1 episode
Jazz Party 1958 TV Series writer - 2 episodes
Kiss Them for Me 1957 music: "Stompin' at the Savoy" - uncredited
The Benny Goodman Story 1956 writer: "Stompin' At the Savoy"
I Love Lucy 1953 TV Series writer - 1 episode
Frank DeVol and His Orchestra 1953 Short writer: "Stompin' at the Savoy"
The Pride of St. Louis 1952 music: "Stompin' at the Savoy" - uncredited
The Paul Whiteman's Goodyear Revue 1952 TV Series music - 1 episode
I'll Get By 1950 music: "Stompin' at the Savoy"
The Stratton Story 1949 music: "Stompin' at the Savoy" - uncredited
The Drummer Man 1947 Short "Stompin' at the Savoy"
Sweet and Low-Down 1944 music: "Stompin' at the Savoy" 1934 - uncredited
Foreign Correspondent 1940 "Harlem Congo" 1937
Love on Tap 1939 Short music: "Stompin' at the Savoy" 1934
It's in the Stars 1938 Short music: "Stompin' at the Savoy" - uncredited
Man-Proof 1938 music: "Stompin' at the Savoy" 1935 - uncredited
George Hall and His Orchestra 1937 Short music: "Stompin' at the Savoy" - uncredited
Sinner Take All 1936 writer: "Stompin' at the Savoy" - uncredited



After Seben 1929 Short Himself - Band Leader

Archive Footage

Archive Footage

The Savoy King: Chick Webb & the Music That Changed America 2012 Documentary Himself
Frankie Manning: Ambassador of the Lindy Hop 2010 Video documentary short Himself - Drummer

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