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Cab Kaye


kab kaye

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Augustus Kwamla or Kwamlah Nii-lante Quaye, better known as Cab Kaye (September 3, 1921, London - March 13, 2000, Amsterdam) was an English jazz multi-instrumentalist.

Kaye’s father, Caleb Quaye (b. Ghana, 1895 - 1922), performed in London under the name Ernest Mope Desmond and led an ensemble called the Five Musical Dragons, in which Arthur Briggs, Sidney Bechet, and George “Bobo” Hines played. Kaye worked as an assistant to Billy Cotton from age 14, and sang with this group on record in 1936. He started on drums the following year, and played with Ken “Snakehips” Johnson for a time before working as a merchant marine. His ship was torpedoed in the Pacific Ocean in 1942; he was not injured and was rescued by airplane, but the plane crashed and he was hospitalized in New York City as a result. Upon his return to London late in the year he sang with Harry Parry, then formed a group briefly in 1943 which included Ronnie Scott among its members.

Kaye played with Jiver Hutchinson’s All-Coloured Band on troop tours in 1946-47, then aplyed with Ted Heath (1947), Tito Burns (1948), and Jazz at the Town Hall. He led his own bands from 1948, including the Ministers of Swing, in which Scott, Denis Rose, and Johnny Dankworth played. Other bands he led include The Cabinettes (with Ronnie Ball) and his own All-Coloured Band (with Dave Wilkins and Sam Walker; this ensemble toured Europe).

Early in the 1950s Kaye accompanied Don Byas in Paris; he recorded copiously as a leader in the 1950s and worked as a sideman with Keith Bird, Ken Moule, Gerry Moore, Norman Burns, Wallace Bishop, and Rob Pronk. He made an appearance in the 1953 film Blood Orange.


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