Shaw, Lige (Elijah W.)

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Shaw, Lige (Elijah W.)

Shaw, Lige (Elijah W.), jazz drummer, percussionist; b. Jackson, Tenn., Sept. 9, 1900; d. St. Louis, Mo., 1982. He worked as a tap dancer at age 11; moved to Memphis in 1914, worked at mechanical dentistry, and began gigging on drums. From fall 1917 through mid-1921, he toured with various “minstrel” troups as a band member; from 1922, he worked mostly in St. Louis, including five years as a house musician at a local theater from 1924–29. He was working out of Miss, for two years beginning in 1929, and then returned to St. Louis. He worked with various local bands, including trumpeter Walter ‘Crack’ Stanley (1932) and Charlie Creath (1933–34). Shaw continued to work in St. Louis regularly throughout the late 1930s, and served a long term as president of the local musicians’ union. He recommenced touring in 1941 with the Ringling Brothers’ Circus Band, but was back in St. Louis two years later, where he worked clubs and resumed his duties in the musicians’ union (remaining its president until 1957). During the 1950s, he worked regularly with Singleton Palmer in clubs and on recording. He also opened his own piano tuning and repair service, and worked on local riverboats.

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