Claude Williams

Decades: 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s


22 February 1908, Muskogee, Oklahoma, USA, d. 25 April 2004, Kansas City, Missouri, USA. Known as ‘Fiddler’ Williams, Williams started out playing violin in local dance bands, including one led by Oscar Pettiford. In the late 20s he joined Terrence Holder’s band, staying on after Holder was replaced by Andy Kirk. He also spent time in the fine territory band led by Alphonso Trent and was briefly with the band co-led by Eddie and Nat ‘King’ Cole. In the mid-30s Williams switched to guitar to join Count Basie, but was replaced by Freddie Green. Williams continued to play guitar, working with the Four Shades Of Rhythm, Frank Martin, Roy Milton and other R&B bands, although he preferred to play the rarely fashionable violin. By the early 50s Williams was resident in Kansas City, but had drifted onto the sidelines. In the early 70s he returned to the spotlight, once again playing violin, and recording with Jay McShann, B.B. King and under...

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