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Burroughs, Alvin (“Mouse”)

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Burroughs, Alvin (“Mouse”), jazz drummer; b. Mobile, Ala., Nov. 21, 1911; d. Chicago, Aug. 1, 1950. He is best known for his work with the Earl Hines big band. He was raised in Pittsburgh and at age 16 made his debut (with Roy Eldridge) in a kids’ band at Sharon, Pa. He worked with Walter Page’s Blue Devils in 1928-29, with Alphonse Trent (1930). Burroughs settled in Chicago, played with various leaders including pianist Hal Draper’s Arcadians in 1935; he was with Horace Henderson from July 1937 until 1938; he was with Earl Hines from September 1938 until late 1940; and he was with Milton Larkin’s Band at Rhumboogie, Chicago (1941), with Benny Carter in late 1942. Burroughs his led own band, then worked with Henry “Red” Allen from 1945 until April 1946. He played with Bill Harris and Gene Ammons. Jo Jones credits him with using a coin in his hand to produce the first sizzle cymbal effect; this technique is heard on his 1947 work with Gene Ammons. Burroughs soon joined George Dixon’s Quartet and was a member of this group until he suffered a fatal heart attack.

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