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11 December 1906, Kokomo, Indiana, USA, d. 30 March 1962, San Francisco, California, USA. In the early 20s Purvis played trumpet and trombone with the Original Kentucky Night Hawks, then began a life that, as jazz musician and writer Digby Fairweather has observed, makes a ripping jazz yarn - even if only a tenth of it is true. In the late 20s Purvis played in various bands, made records, including a remarkable take-off of Louis Armstrong, and sat in with Fletcher Hendersons band. In the 30s he made more records with the likes of Coleman Hawkins and J.C. Higginbotham, played the harp with Fred Waring, arranged music for motion pictures, became a smuggler in his own small aircraft, fought as a mercenary and was a hotel chef. By the end of the decade he was reputedly playing in a Texas prison band while serving time for robbery.
He served 10 years, vanishing from sight on his release but was later believed to be serving time...