6 thoughts on “Unidentified jazz drummer, circa 1940s-early 1950s

  1. The African-American drummer knealing behind his drum set might be Cozy Cole. I’m not completely sure, but it does kind of look like him and the drum set looks like his. Obviously, double-check me on this.

    Thank You,
    Bradley D, Cook
    Curator of Photographs
    Office of University Archives & Records Management, Indiana University.

  2. I’m still thinking he more resembles Jo Jones from the Basie Band:

    Check out how the snare drum (the one at about mouth level behind the drummer) in the above photo is angled out towards the audience. In the linked Jo Jones photo, you can see the snare at the same angle (which is not a typical angle you’d see a snare set at).

    Also, the guitar in the picture looks very similar to one used by Freddie Green from the Basie Orchestra in the late 1930s:

    Are there any more photos from the same series/concert? If more players are pictured, it may be easier to identify the drummer for sure.

    –Jeff Ksiazek
    Ward Irish Music Archives

  3. Yes, I’m leaning towards the Jo Jones identification as well. There’s only one other image that is obviously from this same event, and it shows him playing the kit with a largish, white man wearing glasses standing behind him (this 2nd man appears be holding an upright bass, but isn’t playing it).

    Regarding the possible identification of saxophonist Herschel Evans, that image was clearly taken at a different event, but it could still be the Count Basie Orchestra…there is another negative taken at this event that shows a piano player (could be Basie, hard to tell) and the profile of a trumpet player.

    I’ll try to get these 2 images scanned in the near future, to see if we can’t nail this down. Thanks, Jeff and Brad!

  4. The drummer is beyond a shadow of a doubt
    PAPA JO JONES. That’s him during the days of the great Count Basie band. And that drum kit is a Gretch Gladstone kit from the late 1930’s
    What a cool photo.


  5. Yup; That’s got to be JO.

    (Aside form all the other evidence mentioned, note the double floor toms, one on each side of the kit; another Jo Jones trademark.)

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