Winchester, Lem(uel Davis)

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Winchester, Lem(uel Davis)

Winchester, Lem(uel Davis), jazz vibraphonist; b. Philadelphia, March 19,1928; d. Indianapolis, Jan. 13, 1961. His grandfather was a drummer who accompanied vocalist/comedian Bert Williams and other artists in the teens and 1920s. His parents moved to Wilmington, Del., where he studied piccolo, then tenor and baritone saxophones, and later, after having learned to play the piano with two fingers (like Lionel Hampton), took up vibraphone in 1947. From 1950 he worked as a Wilmington police officer but continued performing regularly and appeared at the Newport festival in 1958. In 1960 he quit the police force to play music full-time and soon recorded with Johnny Hammond Smith and Oliver Nelson. He died playing Russian roulette.


Tribute to Clifford Brown (1958); Winchester Special (1959); Another Opus (1960); Lem’s Beat (1960); With Feeling (I960).

—Lewis Porter