LEE, THOMAS BALL [SONNY]
Listen to this artist
LEE, THOMAS BALL [SONNY] (1904–1975). Trombonist Thomas Ball (Sonny) Lee was born in Huntsville, Texas, on August 26, 1904. He studied at a teachers' college and worked with Texas pianist Peck Kelley in Houston before continuing his studies in St. Louis, where as early as 1925 he worked with Frankie Trumbauer. He also worked with such orchestra leaders as Gene Rodemich, Vincent Lopez, and Paul Specht. From 1932 to 1936 Lee was with the Isham Jones Orchestra, and in 1936 he worked with Artie Shaw and recorded with the Charlie Barnet Orchestra. Also in 1936, Lee recorded with the first band of leader Woody Herman, and among several tunes the trombonist recorded with Herman is his fine outing on "I've Had the Blues So Long." In 1937–38 Lee was with the Bunny Berigan Orchestra, with which in 1937 he recorded "Mahogany Hall Stomp." On this tune, made famous by Louis Armstrong, Lee turns in a superb solo that shows his skilled handling of his instrument, somewhat under the influence of his fellow Texan Jack Teagarden. In 1938 Lee began an association with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra that lasted until 1946. He died on May 17, 1975, in Amarillo.
John Chilton, Who's Who of Jazz: Storyville to Swing Street (London: Bloomsbury Book Shop, 1970; American ed., New York and Philadelphia: Chilton, 1972; 4th ed., New York: Da Capo Press, 1985 ). An Introduction to Bunny Berigan: His Best Recordings, 1935–1939 (Best of Jazz 4021, 1995). Dave Oliphant, Jazz Mavericks of the Lone Star State (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2007).
Image Use Disclaimer
All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Dave Oliphant, "LEE, THOMAS BALL [SONNY]," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fleac), accessed February 11, 2016. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on October 3, 2015. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.