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Artist biography Sonny Greer
Sonny Greer, a drummer from Long Branch, started at a young age playing with William "Count" Basie. As a piano and drums duo, the two won first place in an Asbury Park piano competition.
Sonny Greer would later go on to fame as the drummer for the Duke Ellington Orchestra. With the Duke Ellington orchestra, Sonny formed one of the most powerful rhythm sections of all time with bass player Jimmy Blanton.
From 1919 to 1927 Sonny was a part of the Duke Ellington Cotton Club band. He left Ellington in 1951 to join Johnny Hodges' band.
Greer also performed with The Washingtonians, Red Allen, Tyree Glenn, Brooks Kerr and J.C. Higginbottham.
Beyond using the drum kit to generate swinging beats, Sonny Greer was one of the first drummers to use other percussion instruments, such as gongs and cymbals and instruments from other cultures; creating the first jungle music.