Lindsey, John, early jazz bassist, trombonist; b. New Orleans, La., Aug. 23, 1894 (the 1900 census says September 1891); d. Chicago, III, July 3,1950. His lively, swinging bass work is prominently featured on such Jelly Roll Morton recordings as “Grandpa’s Spells,” basically in a two feel but with some measures of walking as well. His father was a guitarist, his brother Herb a violinist. During his early teens John began playing bass in the family band. After serving in the U.S. Army during World War I he began working in New Orleans on trombone. He played with the John Robichaux Orch. at the Lyric Theatre, then joined Armand Piron and traveled with them to N.Y. In 1924 he left Piron to tour with King Oliver. He subsequently played with Dewey Jackson (late 1925), and settled in Chicago. Throughout the 1920s Lindsay doubled on trombone and string bass with various leaders including Willie Hightower, Carroll Dickerson, Lil Hardin, and Jimmy Bell. During this period he made a series of recordings with Morton. He was on tour with Louis Armstrong from March 1931 to March 1932, including a residency in New Orleans. He returned to Chicago and worked with Jimmie Noone, Art Short, Richard M. Jones, and the Harlem Hamfats during the 1930s. During the last 10 years of his life he worked on string bass, led his own quartet at Music Bar (Chicago), and worked regularly with Darnell Howard and with guitarist Bob Tinsley’s Orch., among others.
—John Chilton, Who’s Who of Jazz/Lewis Porter