Whaley, Wade, early jazz clarinetist; b. New Orleans, Feb. 22, 1892; d. Brooklyn, N.Y., Feb. 1968. He originally played string bass and guitar, then clarinet (taught by Lorenzo Tio Jr.). His first work on clarinet was with Armand Piron’s Orch. at the Temple Theatre; subsequently, he worked with the Crescent Band, Buddie Petit, Manuel Perez, Kid Ory, and John Robichaux. Whaley formed his own band in 1916, left to join Jelly Roll Morton in Los Angeles (1917), then returned to New Orleans and led his own band in Bucktown. He moved back to the West Coast in November 1919 to join Kid Ory. Whaley led his own band, but worked regularly with Kid Ory from 1922. After Ory moved to Chicago (1925), Whaley formed his own Black and Tan Jazz Hounds and achieved great success during the late 1920s. In the early 1930s, he played in pit orchestra at the Capitol Durlesque Hall in San Francisco. In 1934, he left full-time music to work in the shipyards at San Jose. He began working regularly on the clarinet after appearing with the All-Star New Orleans Band in San Francisco (May 1943). In April 1944 (immediately after the death of Jimmie Noone), Whaley took part a in broadcast with Kid Ory; this served to introduce him to a wider public. During the next few years continued to play regularly, taking part in several recording sessions. He then retired from making music.
—John Chilton, Who’s Who of Jazz/Lewis Porter