Lawrence Lucie

Lawrence Lucie was an American jazz guitarist.

Born in Emporia, Virginia, Lucie learned banjo, mandolin, and violin as a child and played with his family at dances. Lucie's father, a barber, also played jazz music. He studied banjo in New York City at the Brooklyn Conservatory, but switched to guitar when he started a professional career. He was the guitarist for orchestras led by Duke Ellington (1931-32), Benny Carter (1932-34), Fletcher Henderson (1934, 1936-39), the Mills Blue Rhythm Band (1934-36), Coleman Hawkins (1940), and Louis Armstrong (1940-44); he was also the best man at Armstrong's wedding. He recorded with all of them except Ellington. He can also be found on record with Teddy Wilson and Billie Holiday, Spike Hughes, Putney Dandridge, Big Joe Turner, Red Allen, and Jelly Roll Morton.

After the big band era passed, he played in a quartet with his wife Nora Lee King, also a guitarist as well as a singer. In the 1950s he played with Luis Russell, Louie Bellson, and Cozy Cole, in addition to copious session work. Lucie continued to record with his wife for his own label, Toy Records, into the 1980s.

Lucie taught at the Borough of Manhattan Community College for three decades, retiring in 2004. He died at age 101, in New York City.


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