Dave Wilkins

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Wilkins played with singer Una Mae Carlisle and pianist Fats Waller, among others. He learned to play in Salvation Army bands in his native Barbados. He first heard jazz via American records and on the…
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Wilkins played with singer Una Mae Carlisle and pianist Fats Waller, among others. He learned to play in Salvation Army bands in his native Barbados. He first heard jazz via American records and on the radio in Trinidad, where he moved in 1935. Wilkins moved to London in 1937 and joined Ken "Snake Hips" Johnson's West Indian Swing Band. He also played with English musicians. In May 1938, he backed Carlisle on a session in London for the Vocalion label; the performances also included his fellow West Indian Bertie King on clarinet and tenor sax. Wilkins recorded with Waller later that year. Wilkins worked with Johnson until 1941, then with such English leaders as Ted Heath, Harry Parry, and Joe Daniels. Wilkins' workload decreased in later years; he stopped playing altogether in the '70s.