Wilbur Sweatman

Genres: Jazz
Decades Active: 2000s

Biography

7 February 1882, Brunswick, Missouri, USA, d. 9 March 1961, New York City, New York, USA. Sweatman played violin, later clarinet, with various bands at the turn of the century. Often, these were large orchestras that toured with circuses and tent shows. In 1902 he formed his own orchestra, touring with it and sometimes playing residencies at theatres and restaurants in Chicago and New York. In 1923 he played at the opening of Connie’s Inn, and in that same year the young Duke Ellington was briefly in his band. Sweatman’s virtuoso playing was designed for audience appeal, incorporating elements of showmanship. By the end of the 20s, Sweatman moved out of performing but retained his showbusiness interests, working in booking, publicity and music publishing. In the 40s, he returned to performing, leading a small group in New York. Among his many compositions is ‘Down Home Rag’.

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