He was one of Eddie Davis' Beboppers in 1946 and a member of the Eddie Davis Quintet in 1947.
He performed on Miles Davis' Birth of the Cool record.
He was accused of murdering his third wife Bonnie, but was acquitted in 1969. However, his second wife, Grange Rutan, later expressed skepticism about his innocence.
He began playing in 1945 alongside Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker.