Born January 17, 1910, Evanston, IN;
Died March 25, 1951, Chicago, IL
At the age of 17 Catlett played his first
professional gig, with Darnell Howard's Band at the Club
Arlington in Chicago. He developed his talents in a number of
bands with various styles before making it to New York and the
Benny Carter band in 1931. The Catlett drumming style in the
early days helped form the hot tempo of such recordings as
Fletcher Henderson's, "Jangled Nerves," and "Stealin'
Apples," as well as Louis Armstrong's, "Jeepers
After leaving Armstrong, Bid Sid was
immediately hired by Benny Goodman, where he really 'sparked'
Goodman's great 1941 orchestra. (Peggy Lee and Art Lund, Vocs;
Mel Powell on piano; Sid Weiss on bass; Vito Musso, Clint
Neagley, Julie Schwartz, George Berg and Chuck Gentry on Saxes;
Lou McGarity and Cutty Cutshall on trombones; Billy Butterfield,
Jimmy Maxwell and Al Davis on trumpets; Catlett on drums; and
Guitarist Tommy Morgan.)
He worked with Don Redman, Armstrong, Roy
Eldridge and Eddie Condon before he formed his own band in 1944.
The quartet played from coast to coast and recorded a handful of
sides while in Los Angeles.
Catlett teamed up with Armstrong as a member
of the All-Stars from 1946 to the end of 1949. A year later he
had a number of solo's during John Kirby's Carnegie Hall
In March 1951 he played at the Chicago Opera
House. It was during a performance, while he was talking with
Slam Stewart, that Catlett collapsed and died of a heart attack.