Basic Background Info

Birth: February 10, 1905 - June 16, 1939
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Band: Louie Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Chick Webb and his Orchestra
Genres: Jazz
Instruments: Drums
Occupation: Musician


Baltimore native William Henry "Chick" Webb suffered from congenital tuberculosis of the spine as a child. The disease deformed his spine and resulted in his short stature. Throughout his career, Chick Webb would modify his drum set to compensate for his stature. Chick Webb sat high on a platform, used custom pedals, and installed long-necked cymbal stands. Chick Webb worked to buy his own drum set and performed professionally on pleasure boats for the first time when he was eleven years old.

As a teenager, Chick Webb relocated to New York City and, after taking a few lessons from Tommy Benford, he assembled his own band in Harlem. During the late 1920s, Chick Webb alternately toured and played in house bands on the New York club scene. A reward for his ambition and hard work, his band became the house band at the Savoy Ballroom in 1930. During his tenure at the Savoy, Chick Webb and his band participated in several battle of the bands against the Benny Goodman Orchestra and the Count Basie Orchestra. Chickís notoriety at the drum seat earned him praise from legendary drummer Buddy Rich, who cited Chick Webb as influential to his own drumming. In the 1930s, young Ella Fitzgerald often performed with Chick Webb and his band.

Later that decade, Chick Webb's health began to deteriorate. Consequently, he decreased his performances while he underwent treatment. After Chick Webb passed away, Ella Fitzgerald led his band for several years before departing to pursue her solo career.


Album Year Album Name Album Band
1917 Finest Vintage Jazz (1917-1941) Various Artists
1919 Tribute to Black Entertainers Various Artists
1925 Jazz Classics in Digital Stereo, Vol. 3: New York Various Artists
1925 Ladies Sing Jazz Various Artists
1925 Ladies Sing Jazz, Vol. 2 Various Artists
1925 Swing Time! The Fabulous Big Band Era 1925-1955 Various Artists
1926 1926-1938 Louis Armstrong
1926 Black Legends of Jazz Various Artists
1926 Legendary Satchmo, Vol. 2 Louis Armstrong
1926 West End Blues 1926-1933 Louis Armstrong
1928 1928-1936 Mezz Mezzrow
1929 1929-1934 Chick Webb
1929 Jazz Heritage: A Legend (1929-1936) Chick Webb
1929 Song Is...Hoagy Carmichael Hoagy Carmichael
1929 Spinnin' the Web Chick Webb & His Orchestra
1929 Swing That Music Various Artists
1930 1930's: The Small Combos Various Artists
1930 Young Louis Armstrong Louis Armstrong
1931 1931-1932 Louis Armstrong
1931 Anthology of Big Band Swing (1930-1955) Various Artists
1931 Complete Brunswick, Parlophone and Vocalion Bunny Ber Bunny Berigan
1932 Complete RCA Victor Recordings Louis Armstrong
1932 Cool Breeze Louis Armstrong & Dizzy Gillespie
1932 From the Big Band to the All Stars (1946-56) Louis Armstrong
1932 Laughin' Louis (1932-1933) Louis Armstrong & His Orchestra
1932 Reefer Songs: Original Jazz & Blues Vocals Various Artists
1933 Devil's Holiday (1933-1934) Benny Carter
1933 Immortal Chick Webb: Stompin' at the Savoy Chick Webb
1934 All of Me Benny Carter
1934 Duke's Men: The Small Groups, Vol. 1 Duke Ellington
1934 Jazz Heritage: Princess of the Savoy (1934-1939) Chick Webb with Ella Fitzgerald
1935 1935-1937 Ella Fitzgerald
1935 1935-1938 Chick Webb & His Orchestra
1935 Early Years, Pt. 1 Ella Fitzgerald/Chick Webb & His Orchest
1936 Big Bands, Vol. 1: The Golden Era of Swing Various Artists
1936 Bronzeville Stomp Chick Webb
1936 Ella Swings the Band (1936-1939) Chick Webb with Ella Fitzgerald
1936 Stompin' at the Savoy: 1936 Chick Webb
1936 Swing-Dance, Vol. 2 Various Artists
1937 1937-1938 Ella Fitzgerald
1937 Chick Webb Chick Webb
1937 Featuring Ella Fitzgerald Chick Webb
1937 Swing-Dance, Vol. 1 Various Artists
1938 1938-1939 Ella Fitzgerald
1938 75th Birthday Celebration Ella Fitzgerald
1938 Chick Webb/Ella Fitzgerald/The Ink Spots Chick Webb
1938 Dynamic Duos: Memorable Meetings In Jazz Various Artists
1939 1939 Ella Fitzgerald
1939 Chick Webb and His Savoy Ballroom Orchestra 1939 Chick Webb
1939 Early Years, Pt. 2 Ella Fitzgerald
1939 Original Sessions 1937-1939 Chick Webb
1939 Standing Tall Chick Webb
193 Columbia Jazz Masterpiece Series: 1930s Big Band Various Artists
1967 Immortal Chick Webb Chick Webb
1968 King of the Savoy Chick Webb
1973 Carnegie Hall 1973, Vol. 1 Ella Fitzgerald
1973 Newport Jazz Festival: Live at Carnegie Hall Ella Fitzgerald
1983 Big Band Jazz, Vol. 1: From the Beginning to the Fifties Various Artists
1984 Cotton Club Various Artists
1990 Big Bands of the Swinging Year, Vol. 1 Various Artists
1990 Big Bands of the Swinging Year, Vol. 2 Various Artists
1991 16 Great Songs Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong
1991 Ella Sings, Chick Swings Ella Fitzgerald
1991 Viper Mad Blues: 25 Songs of Dope and Depravity Various Artists
1992 Benny Rides Again Eddie Daniels w/Gary Burton
1992 Big Band Instrumentals: 16 Most Requested Songs Various Artists
1992 Big Band's Greatest Hits Various Artists
1992 Big Bands, Vol. 1 Various Artists
1992 Golden Years in Digital Stereo: Swing Big Bands Various Artists
1992 Rhythm Man Chick Webb
1992 S' Wonderful: The Music of George Gershwin Various Artists
1993 Best of the Big Bands Various Artists
1993 Fabulous Thirties Various Artists
1993 Let's Get Together Ella Fitzgerald
1993 Mr. Music Master Hoagy Carmichael
1994 First Ladies of Jazz Ella Fitzgerald/Chick Webb/Billie Holiday
1994 Harlem Joys Various Artists
1995 Best of Ella Fitzgerald Ella Fitzgerald
1995 Big Band Collection Various Artists
1995 Big Band Spectacular Various Artists
1995 Count Basie & His Orchestra 1937/Chick Webb & His Orchestra Count Basie & Chick Webb
1995 Early Years, Pts. 1-2 Ella Fitzgerald/Chick Webb & His Orchestra
1995 Introduction to Chick Webb 1929-1939 Chick Webb
1995 It's a Blue World Ella Fitzgerald
1995 Orchestras of 1936-1937 Chick Webb/Bill Challis/Woody Herman
1995 Topaz Jazz: The Box Various Artists
1995 When Hemp Was Hip Various Artists
1996 1934-1940 Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five
1996 1937 Duke Ellington & His Orchestra
1996 A-Tisket A-Tasket Ella Fitzgerald
1996 Big Band Collection Various Artists
1996 Big Band Legends, Vol. 1 Various Artists
1996 Big Band Sound: The Platinum Collection Various Artists
1996 Classic Swing, Vol. 1 Various Artists
1996 Classics Big Band Jazz -- Swing That Jazz Various Artists
1996 Jazz Anthology: 1918-34, Vol. 1 Various Artists
1996 Jazz Anthology: 1939 Various Artists
1996 Masters of Jazz, Vol. 3: Big Bands of the 30s & 40s Various Artists
1996 Smokin' Jazz Various Artists
1996 String of Pearls: 20 Original Big Band Hits Various Artists
1996 Swinging at the Savoy: Home of Happy Feet 1937-45 Various Artists
1996 With Vocal Refrain: Hallelujah Various Artists
1996 Young Ella Ella Fitzgerald
1997 1938-1939, Vol. 9 Benny Carter
1997 Chanteurs de Jazz Various Artists
1997 Chanteuses de Jazz: 1921-1939 Various Artists
1997 Drums Parade, 1937-1945 Various Artists
1997 Golden Age of Swing, Vol. 3 Various Artists
1997 Legends Jazz Greats: Up Front and Center Various Artists
1997 Let's Swing, Vol. 1 Various Artists
1997 Music of Prohibition Original Soundtrack
1997 Prewar Vocal Jazz Story: 1923-1945 Various Artists
1997 Rhythm & Romance Ella Fitzgerald
1997 Throw Down Your Crowns Glenn Kaiser
1997 West End Blues 1926-1933 Louis Armstrong
1998 Blues in the Night Van Craven
1998 Keep a Song in Your Soul Alex Hill
1998 Let's Swing Various Artists
1998 Lion Roars: His Greatest 1934-44 Willie "The Lion" Smith
1998 Priceless Jazz: More Ella Fitzgerald Ella Fitzgerald
1998 Story 1929/1946 Johnny Hodges
1998 Sweet Swing Various Artists
1998 Swing Time, Vol. 1 Various Artists
1998 Swingsation Ella Fitzgerald & Chick Webb
1998 Topaz Jazz: Great Bands Various Artists
1998 Topaz Jazz: Great Vocalists Various Artists
1999 Anthology of Jazz Drumming, Vol. 3 Various Artists
1999 Best of the Best: Big Swing Bands, Vol. 1 Various Artists
1999 Chart-Toppers of the Thirties Various Artists
1999 Cocktail Hour: Swing Time Various Artists
1999 Ella & Her Fellas Ella Fitzgerald
1999 George Gershwin by the Giants of Jazz Various Artists
1999 History of Jazz Drumming, Vol. 3 Various Artists
1999 I'm in the Mood for Swing Various Artists
1999 Jazz Singers Various Artists
1999 Jumpin' Jive & Swing Favorites Various Artists
1999 Original Sounds of Harlem Various Artists
1999 Scattin' at the Cotton Club Duke Ellington
1999 Something to Live For Ella Fitzgerald
1999 Strictly Jive Chick Webb
1999 Swing Fever Various Artists
1999 Swing That Music: Swingstation Various Artists
1999 Swingdance, Vol. 2 Various Artists
1999 That's Jazz, Vol. 2: Blue Skies Various Artists
1999 Ultimate Swing! Various Artists
1999 WBGO 20th Anniversary Sampler Various Artists
2000 100th Birthday Celebration Louis Armstrong
2000 Begin the Beguine: 1938 Various Artists
2000 Best of Swing Various Artists
2000 Big Band Various Artists
2000 Complementary Tracks Various Artists
2000 Harlem Swings Various Artists
2000 Her Best Recordings: 1936-1949 Ella Fitzgerald
2000 Jam Session Various Artists
2000 Jazz Cities: New Orleans, Chicago, New York, Kansas City Various Artists
2000 Jazz on the Road Various Artists
2000 Jumpin' at the Woodside: 20 Original Big Band Hits Various Artists
2000 Jumpin' Jive Various Artists
2000 Ken Burns Jazz: The Story of America's Music Various Artists
2000 Ken Burns Jazz Ella Fitzgerald
2000 Raisin' the Rent Ivie Anderson & Duke Ellington
2000 Rhapsodies in Black: Music and Words From the Harlem Various Artists
2000 Stomping at the Savoy: 1934/1939 Chick Webb
2000 Swinging Big Bands: The Myths Various Artists
2000 That's My Home Louis Armstrong
2000 Thirties Various Artists
2000 World of Swing Various Artists
2001 1937-1947 Jimmy Mundy
2001 Alternative Takes, Vol. 1: 1926-1935 Louis Armstrong
2001 Cocktail Hour: Toast to Gershwin Various Artists
2001 Ella and Her Fellas Ella Fitzgerald & Friends
2001 Ella Sings, Chick Swings/Back to Back Ella Fitzgerald & Billie Holiday
2001 Harlem Saturday Night Various Artists
2001 Jazz After Hours Chick Webb
2001 Legendary Satchmo: 100 Years Anniversary Louis Armstrong
2001 New York Legends, 1929-1948 Various Artists
2001 Smooth One Various Artists
2001 Sugar: The Best of the Complete RCA Victor Recordings Louis Armstrong
2001 That's Jazz: The Collection Various Artists
2001 Very Best of Ella Fitzgerald Ella Fitzgerald
2001 Woody Allen's Movie Music Various Artists
2002 Big Band Era Various Artists
2002 Century of Glory George Gershwin
2002 Chicago Legends 1926-1950 Various Artists
2002 Ella Fitzgerald: Portrait Ella Fitzgerald
2002 Golden Greats: Greatest Swing Various Artists
2002 It Don't Mean a Thing Ivie Anderson
2002 Legendary, Vol. 1 Ella Fitzgerald
2002 Legendary, Vol. 2 Ella Fitzgerald
2002 Legendary, Vol. 3 Ella Fitzgerald
2002 Legendary, Vol. 4 Ella Fitzgerald
2002 Quintessence New York: 1936-1948 Ella Fitzgerald
2002 Stompin' at the Savoy Chick Webb
2003 Diva Series Ella Fitzgerald
2003 Duke: Edward Kennedy Ellington and His Orchestra Duke Ellington
2003 Early Ella: 1935-1940 Ella Fitzgerald
2003 Finest Vintage Jazz Various Artists
2003 Hot Jazz Various Artists
2003 Stomping at the Savoy Chick Webb
2003 Trumpet Story, Vol. 1: 1926/1951 Various Artists
2004 Arranger's Touch: Swing That Music Various Artists
2004 Arranger's Touch Various Artists
2004 Drop Me Off in Harlem Various Artists
2004 Hot Trains Daybreak Various Artists
2004 Petit Dictionnaire: Du Jazz Classique en 80 Musiciens Various Artists
2004 Romance and Rhythm Ella Fitzgerald
2005 Best of Ella Fitzgerald Ella Fitzgerald
2005 Yesterday's Dreams: 50 Nostalgic Reveries Various Artists
2006 Essential Recordings 1925-1940 Louis Armstrong
2006 Golden Years of Jazz 1917-1939 Various Artists
2006 Stomping at the Savoy: Don't Be That Way Chick Webb and His Orchestra
2006 Stomping at the Savoy: Go Harlem Chick Webb and His Orchestra
2006 Stomping at the Savoy: Spinnin' the Webb Chick Webb and His Orchestra
2006 Stomping at the Savoy: Strictly Jive Chick Webb and His Orchestra
2007 Down Another Road/Songs for My Father/Mosaics Graham Collier
2007 Harlem Was the Place 1929-1952 Various Artists
2008 Radio Jazz: Best Broadcasts 1937-53 Various Artists
2008 Radio Days Vol. 2 Various Artists
2008 Original Sound Deluxe: Drum Monsters Various Artists
2008 Music from the Roaing Twenties Various Artists
2008 Just a Simple Melody (Bonus Tracks) Ella Fitzgerald
2008 Freewayman Pat Donohue
2008 Ella Fitzgerald (Promo Sound) Ella Fitzgerald
2009 When the Radio Was King: The Big Band Years Various Artists
2009 The Jive Album Various Artists
2009 Band Theme Songs: Rare and Famous Various Artists
2010 That's New York, Man! Various Artists
2011 Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology Various Artists
2012 The Okeh, Columbia & RCA Victor Recordings 1925-1933 Louis Armstrong
2012 The Ella Fitzgerald Collection: 1935-45 Ella Fitzgerald
2013 Wish You Were Here Various Artists
2013 The Voice of Jazz Ella Fitzgerald


  • Webb's true date of birth remained a mystery until September 2005, when filmmaker Eric Bruno Borgman discovered the correct year. Had he lived, that previous February would have marked Webbís 100th birthday.
  • Even 100 years after he was born, Chick Webb's recordings are still being used to put out records today!

Instruments of Choice



Drums: Gretsch-Slingerland
Cymbals: Zildjian
Hardware: Gretsch

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