Jazz and swing music drummer who played with the Chick Webb band, which featured the then-unknown Ella Fitzgerald.
He worked as a newspaper boy. His first professional drumming gig happened when he was eleven years old.
He rejected the suggestion that he should retire in 1938 when his health was rapidly failing because he knew his band needed to work after the Great Depression had wreaked havoc on the group.
He was married to Martha Loretta Ferguson.
He has been credited for influencing music created by Duke Ellington.