Bushell, Garvin (Payne)

views updated

Bushell, Garvin (Payne)

Bushell, Garvin (Payne), early jazz clarinetist, saxophonist, flutist, oboist, bassonist; b. Springfield, Ohio, Sept. 25, 1902; d. Las Vegas, Nev., Oct. 31, 1991. Bushell’s astounding career took him from Fats Waller recordings in 1926 to John Coltrane in 1961. Both parents taught singing; his uncle was a clarinetist. He started on piano at six and clarinet at 13. He studied at Wilberforce Univ., and during summer vacations played for traveling tent shows. In 1919 he moved to N.Y. Through the 1920s he worked with various artists, including tours with Mamie Smith and Ethel Waters (1921–22), a long stint with Sam Wooding (1925-28, including a trip to Europe in spring 1925), and freelance recording work. In the 1930s he worked with a number of big bands, including Fletcher Henderson (summer 1935-early 1936), Cab Calloway (Feb. 1936-Nov. 1937), and then Chick Webb (Dec. 1937-1939). During the 1940s, Bushell led his own bands in Philadelphia (late 1941), N.Y. (1943–44), and Calif. (Oct. 1944), and also gigged and recorded with Bunk Johnson in Nov. and Dec. 1947. In the 1950s, he was based in N. J., where he continued to lead his own band. He worked with Wilbur de Paris Band from September 1959 until summer of 1964 (including overseas tours); toured Africa with Paul Taubman’s Concert Orch. in September 1964. On Nov. 3, 1961, he played English horn and contrabas-soon with John Coltrane for a live recording at the Village Vanguard. He was with Cab Calloway in 1966. Bushell moved to Puerto Rico in spring of 1967, where he was mainly active as a music teacher; in the early 1980s, he settled in Las Vegas.


“Royal Garden Blues” (1921); “Shim-me-King’s Blues” (1921); “By the Waters of the Minnetonka” (1926); “Dreaming of a Castle in the Air” (1926); “Sergeant Dunn’s Bugles Call Blues” (1928); “Buffalo Blues” (1928); “Louisiana Sugar Babes” (1928); “Sippi” (1928); “Keep It to Yourself” (1930); “New Orleans Hop Scop Blues” (1930); “Baby, What Else Can I Do?” (1939); “I Just Got a Letter” (1939). wilbur deparis:The Wild Jazz (1960). Wilbur DeParis on the Riviera (1960). johncoltrane:The Other Village Vanguard Tapes (1961).

—John Chilton, Who’s Who of Jazz/Lewis Porter