Biography

Jimmie Noone (or Jimmy Noone; born April 23, 1895 in Cut Off, Louisiana – died April 19, 1944 in Los Angeles, California) was an American jazz clarinetist.

Noone started playing guitar in his home town; at the age of 15, he switched to the clarinet and moved to New Orleans, where he studied with Lorenzo Tio. By 1912, he was playing professionally with Freddie Keppard in Storyville, and played with Buddy Petit, Kid Ory, Papa Celestin, the Eagle Band, and the Young Olympia Band, before joining the Original Creole Orchestra in Chicago, Illinois in 1917. The following year, he joined King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band, then in 1920 joined Keppard in Doc Cooke’s band which he would remain with for six years, and make early recordings with. In 1926, he started leading the band at Chicago’s Apex Club. This band, Jimmie Noone’s Apex Club Orchestra, was notable for its unusual instrumentation — a front line consisting of just Noone and alto saxophonist/clarinetist Joe Poston, who had worked with Noone in Doc Cooke’s band. The influential Pittsburgh-born pianist Earl Hines was also in the band for a time.

In 1935, Noone moved New York City to start a band and a (short lived) club with Wellman Braud. He then returned to Chicago where he played at various clubs until 1943, when he moved to Los Angeles, California. Shortly after he joined Kid Ory’s band, which was featured for a time on a radio program hosted by Orson Welles. Noone played a few broadcasts with the band, but died suddenly of a heart attack. The Ory band, with New Orleans-born clarinetist Wade Whaley, played a blues (titled “Blues for Jimmie” by Welles) in his honor on the radio, and the number eventually became a regular feature for the Ory band.

Noone is generally regarded as one of the greatest of the second generation of jazz clarinetists, along with Johnny Dodds and Sidney Bechet. Noone’s playing is not as blues-tinged as Dodds nor as flamboyant as Bechet, but is perhaps more lyrical and sophisticated, and certainly makes more use of “sweet” flavoring. Noone was an important influence on later clarinetists such as Artie Shaw, Irving Fazola and Benny Goodman.

Edited by SanMiguelNo26 on 20 Jul 2007, 11:16

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