Allen "Yank" Porter

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The rollicking backbeat featured on many great Fats Waller sides, as well as some early Big Joe Turner performances, comes courtesy of Allen "Yank" Porter. As if his surname wasn't suggestive…
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The rollicking backbeat featured on many great Fats Waller sides, as well as some early Big Joe Turner performances, comes courtesy of Allen "Yank" Porter. As if his surname wasn't suggestive enough, he was rewarded for his efforts with a nickname that almost perfectly describes what carrying drums does to a person's spinal column. The historical record indicates this artist initially began lugging his tubs in a touring revue fronted by a performer known as "Lucky Sambo" Vaughan. In the second half of the '20s, Porter became based out of New York City, working almost exclusively with bandleader Cliff Jackson.

In the following decade the drummer's options became more varied. He went from the Charlie Matson Orchestra to Louis Armstrong's combo, a tour with Bud Harris, and relationships with series of magnificent pianists with whom he swung out the balance of the '30s: Waller, James P. Johnson, Joe Sullivan, and Teddy Wilson. Dave Martin, yet another pianist, introduced the drummer to the Hotel St. George venue, where Porter put together his own group for the final part of his career. Porter also collaborated with Art Tatum and Benny Carter in the early '40s.