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

Beason, William E. "Bill"

(born: 1908  -  died: 1988) 

Bill Beason was born in Louisville, KY on March 6, 1908 [source: New York Passenger List No. 13, 1937]. He was a drummer in the Sunday School band formed by Bessie Allen. He attended Louisville Central High School along with Helen Humes, Jonah Jones, and Dicky Wells, all of whom had also been members of the Sunday School band.

As an adult, Beason played with Teddy Hill, which led to his first European tour. He recorded with Jelly Roll Morton, played for Ella Fitzgerald (replacing Chick Webb), and rejoined Horace Henderson in the 1940s. Bill Beason was a World War II veteran, enlisting December 14, 1943 at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indiana [source: U.S. WWII Army Enlistment Record].

In 1945, Beason was living in Orlando, FL [source: Florida State Census]. He died in Bronx, NY on August 15, 1988 [source: U.S. Social Security Death Index].

For more see The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, 2nd ed., edited by B. Kernfeld; and The Encyclopedia of Popular Music, 3rd ed., edited by C. Larkin.

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Beason, William E. "Bill",” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 27, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-06-09 15:19:35