b. 31 January 1907, New York City, New York, USA, d. 28 December 1985. Largely self-taught, Morton played trombone in bands in and around New York during his teenage years and by 1926 was sufficiently advanced to be hired by Fletcher Henderson. He subsequently played in bands led by Chick Webb, Don Redman and Count Basie; in 1940 he became a member of Teddy Wilson's superb sextet. He also made record dates with Billie Holiday. In 1943 he joined Edmond Hall's small group, then led his own band for a few years before becoming active in theatre pit bands in New York. In the '50s and '60s he was also busy in radio and recording studio bands, but occasionally turned up on record dates with artists such as Buck Clayton and Ruby Braff, and by the end of the '60s was mostly back on the jazz scene. He toured widely, playing in various bands including the Saints And Sinners package and outfits led by Wild Bill Davison, Bobby Hackett and Sy Oliver. A smooth and polished player with a relaxed and elegant style, Morton was one of the unsung heroes of the swing era. He died in December 1985.
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