Sonny Payne had the role of his lifetime as Count Basie's drummer. It was the perfect position for the hard-driving drummer and he fit in perfectly with pianist Basie and guitarist Freddie Green during the prime years of Count's second great band. The son of drummer Chris Columbus, Payne studied early on with Vic Berton and played locally. In 1944 he began a professional, playing with the Dud & Paul Bascomb band, Hot Lips Page, Earl Bostic (1945-47) and Tiny Grimes (off and on during 1947-50). Payne spent three years (1950-53) with the Erskine Hawkins Orchestra and led his own band for two years, but all of this was really a prelude to his main assignment. With Count Basie during 1955-65, Sonny Payne toured constantly, appeared on many classic recordings and defined the band's drum chair. After leaving in 1965, he briefly led a trio, ...
Read Full Biography