Fess Williams

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Decades: 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s
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Stanley R. Williams, 10 April 1894, Danville, Kentucky, USA, d. 17 December 1975, New York City, New York, USA. As a child Williams played several instruments, receiving formal tuition from N. Clark-Smith at Tuskegee University. By his late teens he had settled on clarinet, and soon afterwards formed the first of many bands he was to lead over the coming years. In New York City in the mid-20s, he became one of the first bands to hold a residency at the Savoy Ballroom where, resplendent in top hat and diamond-studded suit, he was a great popular success. However, his music was well-laced with amiable hokum and he was soon overtaken in popularity by the more swinging bands, which were better suited to the Savoy’s demanding dancers. He continued to lead a band throughout the 30s but, despite the presence of some good musicians, among them Rex Stewart and Albert Nicholas, he failed to match the successes enjoyed by other bands. Although he continued to lead bands...

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