Don Redman, Donald Matthew Redman

Don Redman (Photo in the public domain)

Donald Matthew Redman (1900–1964), born in Piedmont, West Virginia, rose to fame as a jazz musician during the 1920s and 1930s. The first great arranger of jazz music, Don Redman has been credited with inventing jazz-oriented big band music. After graduating at age twenty from Storer College in Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, with a degree in music, he first played with Billy Paige's Broadway Syncopators before joining Fletcher Henderson and becoming his principal arranger. He left Henderson's band to be music director of William McKinney's Cotton Pickers, leading them from obscurity to fame. His spoken vocals led to his recording of the first scat vocal ("My Papa Doesn't Two Time," 1924). In 1928, he sang and recorded with Louis Armstrong's Savoy Ballroom Five and, in 1931, founded his own band, Don Redman and His Orchestra, which played until 1941 (some sources say 1940). During the 1940s, while working as a freelance arranger, he also played with several big bands, including Count Basie and Jimmy Dorsey. He later became Pearl Bailey's musical director.

Name Meaning Reference: 
Amazon Resources (paid links)*: