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Herman Chittison

A very talented stride pianist whose great technique in his early days sometimes dominated his style (it was more in balance by the late '30s), Herman Chittison started out with Zack Whyte's Chocolate Beau Brummels (1928-1931), a superior territory band. He recorded with Clarence Williams, and in 1934 traveled to Europe with Willie Lewis' band. Chittison was featured on Louis Armstrong's European tour that year (he can be seen on film playing three numbers with Satch in Scandinavia) and recorded a series of piano solos. When he left Lewis in 1938, Chittison took some of the other sidemen to Egypt, where they played for two years before returning to the U.S. in 1941. After working with Mildred Bailey in 1941, Chittison led his trio in New York for most of the remainder of his life, appearing regularly on a radio series for nine years; recording on an irregular basis for Musicraft, Columbia, and a variety of tiny labels; and ending up playing in Akron, Columbus, and Cleveland, OH.
© Scott Yanow /TiVo


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