Panama Francis

Genres: Big Band & Swing Blues
Tags: rhythm and blues Powered by AudioScrobbler
Decades: 1950s 1970s 1980s 1990s
Links: allmusic discogs wikidata wikipedia


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 Kelly’s 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 Millinder’s big band, remaining there until 1945. Millinder’s band was very popular at Harlem’s 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...

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