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Panama Francis

With an extended and winding career that stretched within a total of seven decades, drummer David “Panama” Francis continues to be highlighted both in top Harlem nightclubs and legendary rock and roll songs over time. Blessed in Miami, Francis started playing his device using the drum and bugle corps around the region by age eight. This resulted in a full-time gig with George Kelly’s Cavaliers as an adolescent, before relocating to NEW YORK (Francis was presented with his nickname by trumpeter Roy Eldridge, because of his fondness for a particular Panama head wear). Francis 1st increased to prominence in the past due ’30s, when he was an associate from the Savoy Sultans, a Harlem-based group which was once crowned the very best Big Music group by the brand new York Jazz Culture, received a set of Grammy nominations and was praised by Dizzy Gillespie as “the swingingest music group there ever was.” From the 1950s, Francis centered on studio room function, as he quickly became among the best studio room drummers of the complete period, playing on early rock and roll & move classics by such performers as Friend Holly (“Peggy Sue”), the Four Months (“Big Ladies Don’t Cry” and “Walk Just like a Man”), the Platters (“Just You,” “THE FANTASTIC Pretender,” “Smoke cigarettes Gets within your Eye,” and “My Prayer”), Bobby Darin (“Splish Splash”), and Neil Sedaka (“Calendar Woman”). But Francis’ accurate background place in jazz (he supported such leading jazz performers as Benny Goodman and Joe Williams) and R&B, as he revisited his origins on such recordings as “Prisoner of Like” by Wayne Brown, “Just what a Difference each day Makes” by Dinah Washington, “Drown in my Tears” by Ray Charles, and “Jim Dandy” by Laverne Baker. Over time, Francis landed many little bit parts in movies, including such movies because the Learning Tree, Woman Sings the Blues, and Angel Center, and in 1999, released his autobiography, David Gets His Drum, before succumbing to some heart stroke on November 11, 2001 at age 82.

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