Ted Fields

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European jazz fans of the late '20s and '30s may have had the widest exposure to this drummer, whose relatively short career was already winding down in the '40s. Ted Fields played in the rhythm section…
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European jazz fans of the late '20s and '30s may have had the widest exposure to this drummer, whose relatively short career was already winding down in the '40s. Ted Fields played in the rhythm section of bands led by both Sam Wooding and Willie Lewis, enterprising performers who saw a lack of opportunity at home and decided to try exporting their music abroad. The result was some 10 years of European gigs for Fields, beginning with a Wooding tour in the spring of 1928. Between 1931 and 1938 the drummer was then involved with Lewis until finally returning to New York City. In 1939 Fields drummed for the Benny Carter Big Band at the Savoy in New York City; this represented his final big-time jazz gig.

Like many Cleveland homeboys, Fields as a young man drifted around the edge of the Great Lakes looking for gigs. Prior to hooking up with Wooding, the drummer was part of a band led by Paul Craig at a supper club in Buffalo. This type of low-key gig continued to interest him after he basically retired from full-time music in the '40s. He was part of Sammy Stewart's Sextet, based out of New York City during the second World War years. By the time of Fields' death in the late '50s he had pretty much dropped out of th music scene entirely. He is not related to the Ted Fields that helped start up the Interscope label.