Jazz artist and bandleader who immigrated to the United States with his mother and sister after winning $3,000 in a 1919 lottery.
His first professional job was in 1917, providing the accompaniment for silent films.
His band was one of New York's top jazz groups by 1929 and was comprised of many sidemen who had played with King Oliver.
He fathered famed jazz singer Catherine Russell.
He served as musical director for Louis Armstrong during the late 1930s and early 1940s with his band serving as Armstrong's back-up.