|Genres:||Big Band & Swing|
|Tags:||jazz swing american pianist bandleader swing jazz|
|Decades:||1960s 1970s 1990s 2000s|
Claude Driskett Hopkins, 24 August 1903, Alexandria, Virginia, USA, d. 19 February 1984, New York City, New York, USA. Hopkins was born into a well-educated, middle-class family, both parents being members of the faculty of Howard University. He studied formally at Howard before starting a career as a dance band pianist. In the mid-20s he visited Europe as leader of a band accompanying Joséphine Baker. Later in the decade and into the early 30s he worked in and around New York, leading bands at many prestigious dancehalls, including the Savoy and Roseland. In 1934 he began a residency at the Cotton Club, sharing headline space with the Jimmie Lunceford band, which lasted until the club closed its Harlem premises in February 1936. In the late 30s and early 40s Hopkins toured extensively but folded the band in 1942. He regularly employed first-class musicians such as Hilton Jefferson, Edmond Hall, Vic Dickenson and Jabbo Smith. After a spell outside music he...