Benford, “Bill” William (b. 1902)

Born in Charleston, West Virginia with younger brother Tommy; entered the Jenkins Orphanage as a child and toured with the band’s musical traveling show in 1915; led his own band and played regularly with Jelly Roll Morton and recorded with him as well; he also recorded with Ethel Waters, Jimmy Dunn, and Willie “The Lion” Smith; Benford was an active combo player at a time when jazz instrumentation evolved from the tuba to the bass – he played/recorded on both instruments; he played bass with South Carolinian, Bubber Miley & His Mileage Makers, the Gulf Coast Seven, the Plantation Orchestra and Thomas Morris & His Seven Hot Babies but became inactive after 1930.

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Selected Albums

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