Jazz Gillum Photo

Jazz Gillum

Born: Sep 11, 1904

Death: Mar 29, 1966

Birthplace: Indianola

Profession: Musician

Nationality: United States

Jazz Gillum

Date of Birth : Sep 11, 1904
Date of Death : Mar 29, 1966
Birth Place : Indianola

William McKinley Gillum, known as Jazz Gillum, was an American blues harmonica player. He was born in Indianola, Mississippi. After running away from home at the age of seven, Gillum spent the next few years in Charleston, Mississippi, working and playing for tips on local street corners. He moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1923, meeting up with the guitarist, Big Bill Broonzy. The duo started working club dates around the city and, by 1934, Gillum started recording for both ARC and Bluebird Records. He appeared on many of the highly popular "Bluebird beat" recordings produced by Lester Melrose in the 1930s and 1940s, under his own name and as a sideman. In 1940, Gillum was the first to record the blues classic "Key to the Highway" utilizing the now-standard melody and 8-bar blues arrangement. Gillum's version of the song was then covered by Broonzy a few months later, and has become the standard arrangement of this now-classic blues song.


  • Musician

Also known as

  • Bill Jazz Gillum (Bill McKinley)
  • Bill Jazz Gillum
  • Gillum, Jazz
  • Bill McKinley
  • Bill "Jazz" Gillum
Source: Freebase, CC-YY
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