Opening the iTunes Store…If iTunes doesn’t open, click the iTunes application icon in your Dock or on your Windows desktop.Progress Indicator
Opening the iBooks Store.If iBooks doesn't open, click the iBooks app in your Dock.Progress Indicator

iTunes is the world's easiest way to organize and add to your digital media collection.

We are unable to find iTunes on your computer. To preview and buy music by [?], download iTunes now.

Already have iTunes? Click I have iTunes to open it now.

I Have iTunes Free Download
iTunes for Mac + PC

Jazz Gillum

View in iTunes

To preview a song, mouse over the title and click Play. Open iTunes to buy and download music.


One of the pre-eminent Chicago harpists of the pre-war era, Bill "Jazz" Gillum was born September 11, 1904 in Indianola, Mississippi. He picked up the harmonica at the age of six, and five years later ran away from home to live with relatives in nearby Charleston. After spending his formative years playing street corners and house parties for spare change, Gillum moved to Chicago in 1923, and before long he hooked up with guitarist Big Bill Broonzy, who often played together as a duo in area clubs. Following a few sideman dates for ARC, he signed with RCA Victor's Bluebird imprint in 1934 to record as a solo artist. His strong relationship with producer Lester Melrose also resulted in a steady stream of session work, and he was a fixture of the "Bluebird Beat" house band. Gillum was drafted into the Army in 1942, and when he returned from duty, his high, reedy harmonica sound had been largely eclipsed by the harder-edged style of John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson. He recorded a few more sides for Bluebird, but drifted into obscurity by the '50s, dying after a gunshot wound to the head on March 29, 1966. ~ Jason Ankeny

Top Songs

Birth Name:

William McKinley Gillum


September 11, 1904 in Indianola, MS

Years Active:

'30s, '40s