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Bobby Durham

Born: February 3, 1937 | Died: July 6, 2008    Primary Instrument: Drums

Bobby Durham

Part of the enormous Philadelphia family tree of jazz players, Bobby Durham has amassed a long list of impressive jazz credits while alternating residencies between Italy and his hometown.

He is perhaps best known as a member of several of the virtuoso pianist Oscar Peterson's classic trios from the '50s and as one of the great jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald's most sensitive accompanists, although jazz fans that are into the smoking organ trio sound will know Durham from his associations with the likes of turbaned Charles Earland or the innovative organist Shirley Scott.

Durham is a personal favorite of jazz producer Norman Granz, who has turned to Durham again and again for help with his projects involving the likes of Fitzgerald and Basie as well as using Durham as the rhythm section drummer for jam session encounters with the likes of pianist Tommy Flanagan, guitarist Joe Pass, and trumpeter Harry “Sweets” Edison, among many. Durham got into music young, starting out dancing and singing before beginning drums well before his teen years. He was a professional musician by the time he was 16 with the group the Orioles....
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