Sherman, Jimmy (actually, James Benjamin)

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Sherman, Jimmy (actually, James Benjamin)

Sherman, Jimmy (actually, James Benjamin), jazz pianist, arranger; b. Williamsport, Pa., Aug. 17, 1908; d. Philadelphia, Pa., Oct. 11, 1975. He was originally taught piano by his sister, then studied with private teachers. He did his first gigs for local high school dances, then played occasionally with Jimmy Gorham’s Band. Sherman’s first professional work was with Alphonse Trent on a Great Lakes steamer (1930), then with Peanuts Holland (1931), Al Sears (1932), Stuff Smith (1933–34), and Lil Armstrong’s Big Band (1935), and then he rejoined Stuff Smith in N.Y. (1936). In 1936 and 1937 Sherman also recorded with Putney Dandridge, Lil Armstrong, Mildred Bailey, and Billie Holiday. From 1938 until 1952, he worked as accompanist-arranger for the vocal group the Charioteers (including a tour of Europe in 1948), then returned to Pa. He played for three years at the Tally Ho motel near Valley Forge, then in 1960 began long residency at Miss Jeanne’s Crossroad Tavern, where he played regularly through 1969.

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