Dave Tough

Born: 
04/26/1907
City: 
Oak Park
Region: 
Illinois
Country: 
USA
Died: 
12/09/1948
Years Active: 
1920's-1948
Genre(s): 
Instruments: 
Drums
Image Credit: 
William P. Gottlieb/Ira and Leonore S. Gershwin Fund Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress

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Dave Tough was an American jazz drummer associated with both Dixieland and swing jazz in the 1930s and 1940s. He has been described as "the most important of the drummers of the Chicago circle". He worked with such musicians as Bud Freeman, Woody Herman, Eddie Condon, Red Nichols, Red Norvo, Tommy Dorsey, Bunny Berigan and Benny Goodman. Berendt describes him as "one of the most subtle and inspired of drummers" with "a rhythmic palette on which he held in readiness the right colour for each soloist". Dave Tough appears as the poet-drummer "Dick Rough," who played at Chicago's legendary Green Mask, in the Autobiographical Novel of Kenneth Rexroth. Rexroth describes Tough as the "first and greatest of the hipsters and one of the few really great musicians in the history of jazz." Although he had varied successes, he also had difficulties with alcoholism and illness. He died, aged 41, from cerebral trauma after falling down in a Newark street.