May 1, 2010

Little Bird and Papa Mutt

My previous post on Willis “Gator” Jackson entitled "Give 'Gator' Some Respect" tangentially brought up the subject of animal nicknames for jazz musicians. I was curious to see how many I could find and here’s the list:
  • Bird - Charlie Parker
  • Cat - William Alonzo Anderson
  • The Cat - Jimmy Smith
  • Duck - Donald Bailey
  • The Fox - Maynard Ferguson
  • Frog - Ben Webster
  • Gator - Willis Jackson
  • The Great Dane - Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen
  • The Hawk - Coleman Hawkins
  • The Lion - Willie Smith
  • Little Bird - Albert Ayler and Jimmy Heath
  • Mouse - Irving Randolph
  • Mousey - Elmer Alexander
  • Mule - Major Holley
  • Mutt or Papa Mutt - Tom Carey
  • Pony - Norwood Poindexter
  • The Rabbit - Johnny Hodges
  • The Stork - Paul Desmond
  • Tiger - George Haynes

Now “Frog” for Ben Webster seems just a little cruel, and I don’t ever recall seeing him referred to by that nickname. Nor had I heard of Paul Desmond as “The Stork.” A few of these animals have actually flocked together for a working menagerie: certainly Cat and The Rabbit; Bird and The Hawk; Duck and The Cat; The Great Dane and Little Bird (Albert Ayler); and The Hawk and Mule.
     Can anyone think of other jazz musicians with animal nicknames?

1 comment:

  1. A few more: Webster was more commonly called "Beast." Stitt was also called "Little Bird." Pianist "Cow Cow" Davenport. "Pony" Poindexter. Guitarist "Hound Dog" Taylor, Donald "Duck" Dunne and Bullmoose Jackson (blues.)