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Robinson, Prince

Robinson, Prince

Robinson, Prince , early jazz tenor saxophonist, clarinetist; b. Portsmouth, Va., June 7, 1902; d. N.Y., July 23, 1960. He began playing clarinet at age of 14, mostly self-taught. He first worked in Lilian Jones’s Jazz Hounds (1919–21), then with pianist Quentin Redd’s Band in Atlantic City (1922). In 1923, he went to N.Y. to join Lionel Howard’s Musical Aces. He spent the next two years mainly with Elmer Snowden, occasionally with June Clark, then worked with Duke Ellington from spring 1925. He left Ellington in summer 1926, and worked with a few other bands, before joining McKinney’s Cotton Pickers, with whom he played for about seven years (1928–summer 1931; 1932–35). He spent the balance of the 1930s with Blanche Calloway’s Band (summer 1935 until early 1937), Willie Bryant (April 1937-October 1938), and then Roy Eldridge (November 1938–0). In the early 1940s, he worked for two years with Louis Armstrong’s Big Band (1940–42), and a year with Lucky Millinder (1942–43), and then began to freelance around N.Y. In 1945 began working regularly with Claude Hopkins, an association that lasted on and off until 1952. He toured with Henry “Red” Allen in 1954. During the second half of the 1950s, he played regular dates with Freddie Washington’s Dixiecrats in Bayside, Long Island, until summer of 1959. He took part in the Fletcher Henderson reunion band in July 1958. Robinson was hospitalized with cancer for the last few months of his life.

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

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