A fine all-round tenor player, Jimmy Forrest is best-known for recording "Night Train," a song that he "borrowed" from the last part of Duke Ellington's "Happy Go Lucky Local."
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, on January 24, 1920, while in high school, Forrest worked with pianist Eddie Johnson, the legendary Fate Marable, and the Jeter-Pillars Orchestra. In 1938, he went on the road with Don Albert and then was with Jay McShann's Orchestra (1940-1942). In New York, Forrest played with Andy Kirk (1942-1948) and Duke Ellington (1949) before returning to St. Louis.
After recording "Night Train," Forrest became a popular attraction and recorded a series of jazz-oriented R&B singles. Among his most important later associations were with Harry "Sweets" Edison (1958-1963), Count Basie's Orchestra (1972-1977), and Al Grey, with whom he co-led a quintet until his death in 1980 in Grand Rapids,...