A fine rhythmic player who was active in the 1920's and had an on-and-off career for 40 years, Lee Blair is a minor name in jazz history. He was selftaught on banjo except for a few lessons with Mike Pingitore from Paul Whiteman's band. Blair worked with Charlie Skeete (1926-28) and more importantly Jelly Roll Morton (1928-30) with whom he also recorded. After spending some time in Billy Kato's band (1930-31), Blair joined Luis Russell in 1934, staying with his orchestra after it was taken over by Louis Armstrong the following year. Departing in 1940, Blair primarily played part-time until he became a member of Wilbur DeParis' New New Orleans Jazz Band in the 1950's. The following decade Blair ran a chicken farm near New York but did play occasional gigs including at the World's Fair in 1964 with fellow banjoists Danny Barker and Eddie Gibbs. Lee Blair, who never led his own date as a leader, recorded with Morton, Russell, Armstrong, DeParis, Dick Cary, Pee Wee Erwin, Leonard Gaskin (1962) and others.
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