Doris Peavey

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b. Doris Yenney, 1895, Oskaloosa, Iowa, USA, d. 26 December 1973, California, USA. Peavey learned to played piano as a child and for a while entertained hopes of a career as a concert pianist. However,…
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Artist Biography by

b. Doris Yenney, 1895, Oskaloosa, Iowa, USA, d. 26 December 1973, California, USA. Peavey learned to played piano as a child and for a while entertained hopes of a career as a concert pianist. However, there was a living to be earned as a popular musician and she began working in hotels and restaurants in the years before World War I. In 1919 she joined a band led by tenor saxophonist Hollis M. Peavey, who had first heard her play a few years earlier, and in 1920 they were married. Soon, the Peaveys heard jazz for the first time and began to incline their music that way. She played piano with her husband and also in silent movie theatres and heard and was influenced by Peck Kelly and Jess Stacy. In 1922, back in Iowa, the Peaveys formed their own jazz band, Hollis Peavey’s Jazz Bandits, a member of which was Eddie Condon. Although the band did not record, contemporary accounts rate it highly and Doris Peavey most highly of all its personnel. Condon attested to her playing ability and that she taught him much about music. The band played extensively in the northern states and Canada throughout the 20s, eventually moving to California where the Peaveys settled. The band continued to play as a unit until 1960. Thereafter, Doris Peavey performed in churches and privately. A strong, gifted pianist with a commanding attack, she later played Hammond organ.