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Percy Brice, Drummer
After working with Luis Russell (1944-45), Benny Carter (1945-46), Mercer Ellington (1947) and Eddie “Clean head” Vinson (1947-51), he played with Tab Smith, Cootie Williams, Tiny Grimes, Lucky Thompson, and Oscar Pittsford. In early 1954, he led his own group at Minton’s Playhouse, New York, and then he joined a trio led by Billy Taylor, with which he stayed for two years. As a member of George Shearing’s quintet (1956-58), he appeared in the film The Big Beat, and in 1958 he returned to Minton’s Playhouse to work with Kenny Burrell for a year. He worked as an accompanist to Sarah Vaughan (1959-61) and the popular Harry Belafonte (1961 to 1968), during which time he also performed with Carmen McRae and Ahmad Jamal. He then led his own group for five years. From 1978 to 1980 he played on Broadway in Eubie Blake’s Eubie and from 1981-1986 he played in and conducted the revue Bubbling Brown Sugar. Between tours he has worked with The Copasetics Dance Troupe. Brice has witnessed all of the transitions in the music, from the Swing Era to current times. It was a rare conversation with a Jazz great.