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Butterfield, Billy (actually, Charles William)

Butterfield, Billy (actually, Charles William)

Butterfield, Billy (actually, Charles William), jazz trumpeter, flugelhornist; b. Middletown, Ohio, Jan. 14, 1917; d. North Palm Beach, Fla., March 18, 1988. Husband of vocalist Dotty Dare Smith. He started on violin, then bass and trombone before specializing on trumpet. He attended high school in Wyo., then studied medicine at Transylvania Coll.; he also played in college dance bands. His first break came when he was hired by Bob Crosby (Sept. 1937-June 1940); he then joined Artie Shaw (Sept. 1940-Feb. 1941), soloing on Shaw’s recording of “Star Dust.” He also played with Shaw’s Gramercy Five. He was with Benny Goodman from March 1941 until early 1942, then joined Les Brown’s Band before becoming a studio musician at CBS and NBC until he joined the Army. After being demobilized in late 1945, he formed his own band. Throughout the late 1940s and 1950s, he played club work in the N.Y. area and also did occasional tours, particularly for college audiences. He recorded with many leaders, along with several brief stints with Benny Goodman (including Newport Jazz Festival in 1958). Early in 1959, he moved to Smithfield, Va., where he began teaching music, as well as leading his own band. In the mid-1960s, he moved to Fla. From 1968 to early 1973, he worked regularly in the World’s Greatest Jazzband. In the later 1970s through most of the 1980s, he continued performing and doing studio sessions.

Discography

Stardusting (1950); Billy Butterfield (1954); Billy Butterfield at Amherst (1955); Billy Butterfield at Princeton (1955); Billy Butterfield at Rutgers (1955); Billy Butterfield Goes to NYU (1955); N.Y. Land Dixie (1955); They’re Playing Our Song (1956); Session at Riverside (1957); Songs Bix Beiderbecke Played (1969).

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

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