|Genres:||Big Band & Swing Blues Jazz|
|Tags:||rhythm and blues|
|Decades:||1950s 1970s 1980s 1990s|
21 December 1918, Miami, Florida, USA, d. 12 November 2001, Orlando, Florida, USA. Francis began to play drums at the age of eight, and made his first professional club appearance when he was 13 years old. Twelve months later he was on tour and in 1934 became a member of George Kellys band. By the time he was in his late teens he was resident in New York, where he quickly found work with Tab Smith and Roy Eldridge. In 1940 he joined Lucky Millinders big band, remaining there until 1945. Millinders band was very popular at Harlems Savoy Ballroom and Francis was a significant factor in that popularity. He then briefly led his own band which toured the south but met with only limited success. In 1947 he was hired by Cab Calloway for a five-year stint. Subsequently Francis worked in radio and was regularly on call as a recording session musician, backing artists such as John Lee Hooker, Eubie Blake, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles and Mahalia...