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Wed, 01.25.1911

Truck Parham, one of Chicago’s finest

Truck Parham

*Truck Parham was born on this date in 1911. He was a Black jazz bassist and drummer.

A longtime fixture in the Chicago music scene, Charles “Truck” Parham played in a countless number of settings during his long career. A fine athlete in his early days (including spending time playing professional football with the Chicago Negro All Stars and as a boxer), Parham was originally a drummer before switching to bass picking up early experience with Zack Whyte's band in Cincinnati from 1932-34.

Back in Chicago from 1936-38, he played regularly with Zutty Singleton and Roy Eldridge and occasionally with Art Tatum. In 1940 Parham joined Earl Hines' big band for two years before working with Jimmie Lunceford's Orchestra until 1947. In Chicago, Parham was part of Muggsy Spanier's dixieland band (1950-55) and also worked with Herbie Fields (1956-57), Earl Hines and Louie Bellson. In the 1960's Parham mostly played with Art Hodes and since then he has continued playing with trad jazz groups.

Although he never recorded as a leader, Parham appeared on many records through the years including with Eldridge, Hines, Lunceford, Spanier, Bellson and Hodes.  Charles "Truck" Parham died in July 2002 after he’d been in the hospital for a few weeks, he was 90. The entire jazz world will miss "Truck" Parham.

All That Jazz The Illustrated Story of Jazz Music
General Editor: Ronald Atkins
Copyright 1996, Carlton Books Limited
ISBN 0-76519-953-X

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