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Stompin' at the Savoy

How Chick Webb became the King of Drums



Sleeping Bear Press

(pub.1.15.2021) 32 pages

Author: Moira Rose Donohue

Illustrator: Laura Freeman

Character: Chick Webb

Overview: "Though a disability stunted his growth and left him with a hunched back, William Henry 'Chick' Webb did not let that get in the way of his musical pursuits. Even as a young child, Chick saw the world as one big drum, pounding out rhythms on everything from stair railings to pots and pans. His love of percussion brought him to the big time as an influential big band leader." Tantalizing taste:

"This new music was just right for Chick. He decided to follow Duke's advice and form his own swing bands. But Chick was a picky 'bird.' He wanted only the best musicians for his band. Once he found them, he and his band were touring the country. That's how Chick happened to hear about a girl with a satiny-smooth voice. Her name was Ella Fitzgerald. The moment Chick heard Ella, he hired her as the band's lead singer.

Being small didn't change the size of Chick's dreams."

And something more: From More about Chick at the back of the book: "In the late 1920s and early 1930s, big bands formed to play swing music. It was a music people wanted to dance to. New dances like the Charleston and the Lindy Hop became popular. One of the most famous songs Chick played, 'Stompin' at the Savoy,' refers to the foot stomping often used in some of these dances... At [Chick's] funeral, Ella Fitzgerald sang 'My Buddy.' By the time she got to the end, she was weeping."


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