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Trummy Young

Trummy Young
Birth name James Young
Also known as Trummy Young
Born (1912-01-12)January 12, 1912
Origin U.S.A.
Died September 10, 1984(1984-09-10) (aged 72)
San Jose, California, U.S.A.
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Trombonist
Instruments Trombone
Years active 1928–1964
Trummy Young (right) and Jimmie Lunceford, early 1940s.
Photograph by William P. Gottlieb.

James "Trummy" Young (January 12, 1912 – September 10, 1984) was a trombonist in the swing era. Although he was never really a star or a bandleader himself, he did have one hit with his version of "Margie," which he played and sang with Jimmie Lunceford's orchestra in 1937 on the Decca Records label.[1]


Growing up in Richmond, Virginia, Young was originally a trumpeter, but by his professional debut in 1928, he had switched to trombone. From 1933 to 1937, Young was a member of Earl Hines' orchestra before joining Lunceford's orchestra, in which he played from 1937 to 1943. With Sy Oliver, he wrote "T'ain't What You Do (It's the Way That You Do It)", a hit for both Lunceford and Ella Fitzgerald in 1939. It has since been recorded by many other artists and was a hit song in the UK in 1982. His other compositions include "Margie", "Easy Does It", and "Trav'lin' Light".,[2] (the latter co-written with Jimmy Mundy, with lyrics by Johnny Mercer).

Young joined Benny Goodman in 1945, and soloed on several hit records, including the #2 hit "Gotta Be This or That". Young also played with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie on a Clyde Hart-led session in 1945, and with Jazz at the Philharmonic. In September, 1952 he joined the Louis Armstrong All-Stars and stayed a dozen years (he performed in the 1956 musical High Society). Trummy Young was a good foil for Armstrong (most memorably on their 1954 recording of "St. Louis Blues"). In 1964, Young quit the road to settle in Hawaii, occasionally emerging for jazz parties and special appearances.

According to his own life story, printed in the July 22, 1977 issue of the Awake! magazine published by Jehovah's Witnesses, Trummy Young became a Jehovah's Witness in 1964. He was married to Sally Tokashiki with whom he had two daughters, Barbara and Andrea, who is a jazz singer.[3]

He died after a cerebral hemorrhage.[1]


  1. ^ a b "Trummy Young, 72, Is Dead;Jazz Trombonist and Singer", New York Times, September 12, 1984.
  2. ^ "Young, Trummy (James Oliver)", Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians.
  3. ^ "Andrea Young singing 'Sugar'".

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