About The Event
William Henry “Chick” Webb was one of the first virtuoso drummers in jazz and an innovative bandleader—the “Savoy King,” who reigned at the Savoy Ballroom and helped launch the Swing Era of the 1930s. In Rhythm Man, the first full biography of Webb, jazz historian Stephanie Stein Crease explores Webb’s engrossing life and times. The Library for the Performing Arts welcomes Crease in a discussion moderated by drummer Ulysses Owens Jr. celebrating Chick Webb and the publication of Crease’s new book.
Drawing from previously unpublished material and years of archival research, Crease paints a nuanced portrait of Webb’s life and career. Webb intersected with almost every important jazz musician of his time—including Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, and Louis Armstrong—and helped launch the careers of such legends as Louis Jordan and Ella Fitzgerald. But, as Crease details, Webb also struggled with the harsh realities of racism and show business, in addition to his chronic spinal tuberculosis that contributed to his death at the young age of 34.
For more information about this performance, please visit the event website.
Image: William Henry “Chick” Webb / courtesy of NYPL