Jimmie Noone (or Jimmy Noone; April 23, 1895 – April 19, 1944) was an American jazz clarinetist. Noone was born in Cut Off, Louisiana, and started playing guitar in his home town; at the age of 15, he switched to the clarinet and moved to New Orleans, where he studied with Lorenzo Tio and with the young Sidney Bechet, who was only 13 at the time. By 1912, he was playing professionally with Freddie Keppard in Storyville, and played with Buddy Petit, Kid Ory, Papa Celestin, the Eagle Band, and the Young Olympia Band, before joining the Original Creole Orchestra in Chicago, Illinois in 1917. The following year, he joined King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band, then in 1920 joined Keppard in Doc Cook’s band which he would remain with for six years, and make early recordings with. In 1926, he started leading the band at Chicago’s Apex Club. This band, Jimmie Noone’s Apex Club Orchestra, was notable for its unusual instrumentation—a front line consisting of just Noone and alto saxophonist/clarinetist Joe Poston, who had worked with Noone in Doc Cook’s band. The influential Pittsburgh-born pianist Earl Hines was also in the band for a time. Noone signed with Brunswick in May, 1928 and was assigned to their Vocalion label. From his first session yielded “Four or Five Times” b/w “Every Evening (I Miss You”) (Vocalion 1185), which was a best seller. He continued recording for Vocalion prolifically through February, 1935. He then signed with Decca in early 1936 and one session each for Decca in 1936, 1937 and 1940. He did one session for Bluebird also in 1940. In 1935, Noone moved to New York City to start a band and a (short-lived) club with Wellman Braud. He then returned to Chicago where he played at various clubs until 1943, when he moved to Los Angeles, California. Shortly after he joined Kid Ory’s band, which was featured for a time on a radio program hosted by Orson Welles. Noone played a few broadcasts with the band, but died suddenly of a heart attack. The Ory band, with New Orleans-born clarinetist Wade Whaley, played a blues (titled “Blues for Jimmie” by Welles) in his honor on the radio, and the number eventually became a regular feature for the Ory band. He died, aged 48, in Los Angeles, California.
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