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Christopher Columbus: 1902-2002
Christopher Columbus

Born: June 17, 1902 in Greenville, North Carolina
Died: August 20, 2002 in New Jersey

Christopher Columbus

Copyright © 2002 


Chris Columbus (also known as Joe Morris) was a drummer and bandleader, and father of drummer Sonny Payne. He led a band from the 1930s, including a period at the Savoy Ballroom. He was a regular drummer with Louis Jordan from 1946-52, and is seen with the saxophonist in the films Reet, Petite and Gone (1947) and Look Out, Sister (1948).

He worked with Wild Bill Davis in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and was briefly in the Duke Ellington Orchestra in 1967. He led his own bands in the 1970s, and toured in Europe.

Arild Wideröe recalls promoting concerts featuring his band in 1972 and 1973 in Baden, Switzerland. Arild says that "I even remember quite well Chris Columbus doing Yoga-exercises on stage still during the end-applause of the concert! At that time he was playing with Al Grey, Clarence "Gatemouth" Smith and organist Stan Hunter".

He continued playing until he was 90, and lived to be 100 years old.

JJA members are invited to submit a full obituary or appreciation.

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With 5 reader comments, latest April 16, 2017