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A fine all-round tenor player, Jimmy Forrest is best-known for recording "Night Train," a song that he "borrowed" from the last part of Duke Ellington's "Happy Go Lucky Local." While in high school in St. Louis, Forrest worked with pianist Eddie Johnson, the legendary Fate Marable, and the Jeter-Pillars Orchestra. In 1938, he went on the road with Don Albert and then was with Jay McShann's Orchestra (1940-1942). In New York, Forrest played with Andy Kirk (1942-1948) and Duke Ellington (1949) before returning to St. Louis. After recording "Night Train," Forrest became a popular attraction and recorded a series of jazz-oriented R&B singles. Among his most important later associations were with Harry "Sweets" Edison (1958-1963), Count Basie's Orchestra (1972-1977), and Al Grey, with whom he co-led a quintet until his death. Forrest recorded for United (reissued by Delmark), Prestige/New Jazz (1960-1962), and Palo Alto (1978).
James Robert Forrest
24 January 1920 in St. Louis, MO
'50s, '60s, '70s, '80s