McKinney's Cotton Pickers

City: 
Detroit
Region: 
Michigan
Country: 
USA
Years Active: 
1926-1939, 1970's-1980's (New McKinney's Cotton Pickers)
Genre(s): 

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William McKinney was a drummer who by 1923 had retired from playing in favor of conducting and managing a big band. In 1926 his outfit became known as McKinney's Cotton Pickers, and the following year they scored a major coup by hiring arranger/altoist/vocalist Don Redman away from Fletcher Henderson. As the band's musical director, Redman put together an outfit that competed successfully with Henderson and the up-and-coming Duke Ellington. The lineup of musicians by the time they started recording in 1928 included Langston Curl, Claude Jones, George Thomas, and Dave Wilborn, but it was the advanced arrangements, the tight ensembles, and the high musicianship of the orchestra on the whole that was most impressive. There were a few special all-star sessions with such players as Joe Smith, Sidney DeParis, Coleman Hawkins, Fats Waller, and Lonnie Johnson making appearances, and James P. Johnson sat in on one date. Among the more rewarding recordings overall were "Four or Five Times," "It's Tight like That," "It's a Precious Little Thing Called Love," and four future standards that Redman introduced: "Gee Baby Ain't I Good to You," "Baby Won't You Please Come Home," "I Want a Little Girl," and "Cherry."

It was a major blow in 1931 when Don Redman departed to form his own band. Benny Carter took over as musical director, but despite the presence of such fine players as Doc Cheatham, Hilton Jefferson, and holdovers Quentin Jackson, Rex Stewart, and Prince Robinson, there would only be one final recording session. The Depression eventually did the band in and after much turnover in 1934, the classic group broke up. McKinney organized later versions of the Cotton Pickers but without making an impression.

[Yanow, Scott. allmusic.com. http://allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&searchlink=MCKINNEY\'S|COTTON|PICKERS&sql=11:wifoxqy5ld6e~T1]

Concerts

Event Datesort descending Venue City Region Country
McKinney's Cotton Pickers 03/18/1934 Club Maxine Detroit Michigan USA
The New McKinney Cottonpickers 06/23/1974 Bimbo's Ypsilanti Michigan USA
1974 Michigan State Fair 08/29/1974 Michigan State Fairgrounds Detroit Michigan USA
The New McKinney Cotton Pickers 03/02/1975 Bimbo's Ypsilanti Michigan USA
The New McKinney Cotton Pickers 04/06/1975 Bimbo's Ypsilanti Michigan USA
McKinney's Cotton Pickers 06/15/1975 Bobbies English Pub Bingham Farms Michigan USA
The New McKinney Cotton Pickers 09/07/1975 Bimbo's (AA) Ann Arbor Michigan USA
The New McKinney Cotton Pickers 09/10/1975 Detroit Institute of Arts Detroit Michigan USA
The New McKinney Cotton Pickers 09/19/1975 Hotel Pontchartrain Detroit Michigan USA
The New McKinney Cotton Pickers 10/05/1975 Bimbo's Ypsilanti Michigan USA
The New McKinney Cotton Pickers 10/26/1975 Bimbo's Ypsilanti Michigan USA
The New McKinney Cotton Pickers 11/02/1975 Cranbrook Bloomfield Hills Michigan USA
Detroit Lives! - A Jazz Reunion 07/17/1976 Masonic Temple Detroit Michigan USA
The New McKinney Cotton Pickers 07/23/1976 Hotel Pontchartrain Detroit Michigan USA
The New McKinney Cotton Pickers 06/27/1979 Hotel Pontchartrain Detroit Michigan USA
Sounds of the 20's 01/19/1980 Royal Oak Music Theater Royal Oak Michigan USA
Bandstand 80 05/05/1980 Cleary Auditorium Windsor Ontario Canada
The New McKinney Cotton Pickers 07/15/1980 Hotel Pontchartrain Detroit Michigan USA
Montreux-Detroit Jazz Festival 09/02/1981 Boblo Cruise Detroit Michigan USA
The New McKinney's Cotton Pickers 10/02/1981 Belcrest Hotel Detroit Michigan USA
The New McKinney's Cotton Pickers 10/03/1981 Belcrest Hotel Detroit Michigan USA
Montreux-Detroit Kool Jazz Festival 09/01/1982 Boblo Cruise Detroit Michigan USA
Montreux-Detroit Jazz Festival 09/07/1987 Hart Plaza Detroit Michigan USA
Dizzy Gillespie 09/29/1988 Detroit Institute of Arts Detroit Michigan USA
Rock & Roll on the Riverfront 05/19/1989 Hart Plaza Detroit Michigan USA

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