Born: December 26, 1917 Primary Instrument: Drums
George Edward “Butch” Ballard (b. December 26, 1918) is an American jazz drummer who during his long career has played with musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Count Basie and Duke Ellington.
Ballard was born in Camden, New Jersey and grew up in Frankford, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As a child he followed American Legion parades near his home, focusing particularly on the drummer. When he was about 10 years old, Ballard's father bought him a set of drums from a pawnbroker and he began to take lessons for 75 cents each. He got the nickname “Butch” after Machine Gun Butch, a character in the 1930 film The Big House. He attended Northeast High School in Philadelphia. When he was 21, he married Jessie, for whom he bought a house in Philadelphia in 1950....