[Dixielandjazz] Fw: Obit for Claude Williams
jerrygordon at juno.com
Mon Apr 26 12:18:42 PDT 2004
A friend just sent me this because I've recently added a necrology page
to my web site.
Jerry Gordon, Troy, NY - Web master for
--------- Forwarded message ----------
From: ZJAZZ3 at aol.com
To: jerrygordon at juno.com
Date: Mon, 26 Apr 2004 10:25:15 EDT
Subject: Obit for Claude Williams
Message-ID: <75.27fa31be.2dbe75cb at aol.com>
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Jazz violinist Claude "Fiddler"
Williams, who was part of Kansas City's thriving music scene during
the swing era of the 1930s and enjoyed newfound popularity in his
later years, died Sunday. He was 96.
Williams died at Research Medical Center, The Kansas City Star
reported. His wife, Blanche, said he'd been hospitalized there
since April 5 with pneumonia.
His wife said Williams had continued as an active musician, and
until he was taken ill his schedule had included a masters class in
California in August and a music camp in New Jersey in August and
Williams, who played the guitar, mandolin and bass as well as
the violin, first came to Kansas City in 1928, joining the Twelve
Clouds of Joy band led first by Terrence Holder and then Andy Kirk.
He also played later with a band led by Alphonso Trent, which
Williams said was "the first black big band allowed to play at
white clubs in Oklahoma."
After hearing him play in Chicago, Count Basie hired Williams to
play both guitar and violin with his band. But when Basie moved his
band to New York, Freddie Green replaced Williams as the guitarist,
something which Williams was later to say turned out to be a good
Williams played with various Kansas City bands until moving in
1940 to Michigan with George Lee, another well-known Kansas City
"We put together a band of the common laborers there,"
Williams said. "It finally broke up when several of the boys had
to go into the service."
Williams worked as a welder by day and musician at night, coming
back to Kansas City in 1952.
In 1988 he was featured in the Broadway revue "Black and
Blue," focusing new attention on his skills, and in the early
1990s he was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame. He
became a popular attraction at nightclubs and music festivals
around the country and overseas.
Williams was among the performers at events during President
Clinton's second inauguration in 1997. That same year he performed
at the grand opening of Kansas City's American Jazz Museum, a show
that was later televised nationally.
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