Nelson Williams

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Nelson Williams

Nelson "Cadillac" Williams (September 26, 1917, Montgomery, Alabama – 1973, Voorburg, the Netherlands) was an American jazz trumpeter.


Williams began playing piano at age 13 and settled on trumpet soon afterwards; he may have played with pianist/singer Cow Cow Davenport while still a teenager. In the 1930s he played in the territory bands Trianon Crackerjacks and Brown Skin Models, and acted as musical director for the Dixie Rhythm Girls. Around 1940 he left Alabama for Philadelphia, where he played with Tiny Bradshaw's band before joining the U.S. Army during World War II.

After the war Billy Eckstine hired Williams, and following this he worked with John Kirby and pianist Billy Kyle. In 1949 he began the first of several stints with Duke Ellington, who bestowed upon him the nickname "Cadillac". In 1951 he left Ellington's employ and moved to Paris, where he led his own bands and recorded for French labels. He returned to Ellington in 1956, and played with him again in 1969 on a tour of Europe. [1] He settled in the Netherlands, and died in 1973.


As leader

As sideman

With Duke Ellington

With others

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  1. "Nelson Williams | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2019-02-18.