Swing-era jazz artist who was responsible for the famous Sing, Sing, Sing piano solo from the 1938 Goodman Orchestra Carnegie Hall performance.
He was largely self-taught, receiving his only formal training from Professor Clyde Brandt at Southeast Missouri State Teachers College, later Southeast Missouri State University, before joining Peg Meyer's Melody Kings and playing with the group on riverboats traveling the Mississippi River.
He was asked to join Benny Goodman's orchestra in 1935, playing with them for four years. He performed with Goodman at the first jazz concert ever held in Carnegie Hall.
He was married to the immensely popular jazz singer Lee Wiley for less than three years, and the union's dissolution was anything but amicable.
He performed sporadically in the latter part of his life, yet he made significant contributions to Nelson Riddle's soundtrack for The Great Gatsby, the Robert Redford film from 1974.