From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Williams, Stanley Rudolph "Fess"

(born: 1894  -  died: 1975) 

Stanley R. "Fess" Williams, born in Danville, KY, was a bandleader who played the clarinet, alto saxophone, and violin. In 1914, he moved to Cincinnati, OH after graduating from Tuskegee Institute, returning to Kentucky in 1915 where he taught school in Winchester [source: World War I Draft Regisration Card, 1917-18].

Williams and his family later moved to Chicago, IL, where he led bands, before settling in New York City in 1924, where he formed the Royal Flush Orchestra in 1925. The band played at the Savoy Ballroom from 1926-1928 and had a number of recordings featuring  musicians such as pianist Henry "Hank" Duncan from Bowling Green, KY. One of the group's most memorable and best selling recordings was Hot Town.

Fess Williams was the uncle, by marriage, of  Charles Mingus; his wife, Louise Phillips Williams, was Mingus's maternal aunt.

Williams died in Jamaica, NY, on December 17, 1975 [source: U.S. Social Security Death Index].

 For more see Fess Williams and his Royal Flush Orchestra, at The Red Hot Jazz Archive; and "Fess Williams" in the Oxford Music Online Database.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Boyle County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Clark County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Danville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Winchester, Kentucky in Wikipedia.


Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry:  Duncan, Henry J. "Hank"
NKAA Entry:  Thomas, John L.
NKAA Entry:  African American Schools in Clark County, KY
NKAA Entry:  Kentucky African American Musicians in Illinois (Chicago)

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Williams, Stanley Rudolph "Fess",” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed January 17, 2021,

Last modified: 2020-12-11 19:04:30