Tiny Bradshaw Biography

Myron Bradshaw, 23 September 1905, Youngstown, Ohio, USA, d. 26 November 1958, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. While studying psychology at Wilberforce University, Ohio, Bradshaw became involved in the campus’ flourishing musical subculture. He joined Horace Henderson’s Collegians as the band’s singer. In 1932, he went to New York where he played drums with several bands, including the Savoy Bearcats and the Mills Blue Rhythm Band. In the same year he sang with Luis Russell and then formed his own band, which toured extensively, playing several long engagements at hotels and dancehalls. During this period, Bradshaw modelled his style on that of Cab Calloway, both men having spent time in Marion Hardy’s Alabamians. He had some success on record in the 30s, notably with ‘Shout, Sister, Shout’ and ‘The Darktown Strutters’ Ball’. During World War II Bradshaw led a US Army big band. After the war he kept a band together by adapting to the popularity of R&B, attracting the attention of several young white performers, among whom was Buddy Holly. In the mid-50s poor health forced Bradshaw to fold his band and he died in November 1958.

A lively entertainer, Bradshaw never quite made the big time. Indeed, at one time he suffered the mild indignity of being billed as the ‘super Cab Calloway’. Bradshaw often hired first-rate musicians and arrangers for his bands, among them Shad Collins, Russell Procope, Happy Caldwell, Charlie Shavers, Billy Kyle, Charlie Fowlkes, Bobby Plater, Shadow Wilson, Fred Radcliffe, Sonny Stitt, Gil Fuller, Big Nick Nicholas, Gigi Gryce and Red Prysock.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.