Cultural Percussionist

Tommy Benford Day

Thomas “Tommy” Benford (April 19, 1905 – March 24, 1994) was an American jazz drummer.

Tommy Benford was born in Charleston, West Virginia. He and his older brother, tuba player Bill Benford, were both orphans who studied music at the Jenkins Orphanage in Charleston, South Carolina. He went on tour with the school band, traveling with them to England in 1914.

In 1920, he was working with the Green River Minstrel Show. Benford recorded with Jelly Roll Morton in 1928 and 1930. He also played with Duke Ellington, Fats Waller and Eddie South. During the 1930s he stayed in Europe for a longer time, where he recorded with Coleman Hawkins, Bill Coleman, Joe Turner, Django Reinhardt, and Sidney Bechet.

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