Cultural Percussionist

Butch Ballard Day

George Edward “Butch” Ballard (December 26, 1918 – October 1, 2011) was an American jazz drummer who played with Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, and Duke Ellington.

Ballard was born in Camden, New Jersey and grew up in the Frankford section of Philadelphia. As a child he followed American Legion parades near his home, focusing particularly on the drummer. When he was about 10 years old, Ballard’s father bought him a set of drums from a pawnbroker and he began to take lessons for 75 cents each. He got the nickname “Butch” after Machine Gun Butch, a character in the film The Big House (1930). He attended Northeast High School in Philadelphia.[1] When he was 21, he married Jessie, for whom he bought a house in Philadelphia in 1950.

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