Joseph Christopher "Chris" Columbus Morris better known as Crazy Chris Columbo, (b. June 17, 1902, Greenville, North Carolina; died August 20, 2002 in New Jersey) was an American jazz drummer. He was sometimes credited as Joe Morris on record, though he is no relation to Joe Morris the free jazz guitarist or Joe Morris the trumpeter.
Columbus was active as a jazz musician from the 1920s into the 1970s, and was the father of Sonny Payne. He led his own band from the 1930s into the late 1940s, holding a residency at the Savoy Ballroom for a period. After the middle of the 1940s he drummed behind Louis Jordan, remaining with him until 1952. In the early 1960s, Columbus backed Wild Bill Davis's organ combo, and he recorded with Duke Ellington in 1967. He worked again as a leader in the 1970s, in addition to doing tours of Europe with Davis. While in France he played with Al Grey, Milt Buckner, and Floyd Smith.
Prior to a stroke which partially paralyzed him in 1993, Columbo was the oldest working musician in Atlantic City.
Columbo got his first professional gig playing with Fletcher Henderson in 1921. Between the 1920s and the 1960s, he played at most of the city's nightclubs, and led the Club Harlem orchestra for 34 years until 1978, when the club shut its doors. Thereafter, Columbo's band went on to perform at practically every Atlantic City casino hotel. At the time of his stroke, he was playing regularly at the Showboat.
Columbo worked, recorded, and toured with such luminaries as Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Jordan, Louis Armstrong, Wild Bill Davis, and Ella Fitzgerald. Columbo did an album on the Strand label called Chris Columbo Quintet including a version of "Summertime" featuring organist Johnny "Hammond" Smith. This record (flip side an uptempo minor blues called "Minerology" ) was fairly successful on radio in the early 1960s. Columbo flipped his sticks in the air, bounced them off the floor and often leaped from a motorcycle seat which was his drum throne. His son was the Count Basie Orchestra drummer Sonny Payne.
Famous quotes containing the word chris:
“When I get all these accolades for being true to myself, I say, Who else can I be? I cant be Chris Evert.”
—Martina Navratilova (b. 1956)