30 July 1923
January 1998 (aged 74)
Roy Porter accomplished so much in such a short period of time that it is surprising how brief his jazz career actually was. He picked up early experience touring with Milt Larkin in 1943, had a stint in the military and then settled in Los Angeles. Porter worked with Teddy Bunn in 1944, gigged frequently with Howard McGhee (with whom he made his first recordings in 1945) and in 1946 was on a Charlie Parker Dial recording session that resulted in the original versions of "Moose The Mooche," "Yardbird Suite" and "Ornithology." Porter also appeared on Bird's much less successful "Lover Man" date. The drummer was a fixture in Los Angeles' modern jazz scene (particularly on Central Avenue) during those years, recording and gigging with Dexter Gordon, Wardell Gray and Teddy Edwards. He led an experimental big band in 1949 that included among its members Art Farmer, Jimmy Knepper and the young Eric Dolphy; they recorded for Savoy and an apparently long lost date for the tiny Knockout label. The following year Porter relocated to San Francisco but essentially his jazz career was over. Drug problems made the 1950's a barren period, he shifted towards studio work (cutting a few numbers with Earl Bostic), did many commercial and rather anonymous sessions in the 1960's and led two very obscure albums for the tiny Chelan and Bel-Ad labels in 1971 and 1975. Illness forced him to retire altogether by 1978
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