- Johnny Simmen
- , revised by Barry Kernfeld
(b Evergreen, AL, Dec 4, 1904; d New York, June 14, 1980). American trumpeter and singer. While he appears throughout the literature as Autrey, on the label of an acetate recording made by Stuff Smith in Cincinnati in 1942 he signs his name clearly and unambiguously as Herman Autry. He studied alto horn from 1914 but changed to trumpet in 1919. In 1923 he moved to Pittsburgh, where he performed with local bands; he also toured extensively, mostly in the South, and worked temporarily as a bandleader in Florida. After playing in Boston he moved to Washington, then three years later settled in Philadelphia, where he performed mainly with the bandleader George “Doc” Hyder until 1933. In late 1933, while playing with the pianist Charlie Johnson at Smalls’ Paradise in New York, he caught the attention of Fats Waller; Autrey may be heard on most of Waller’s recordings, both with sextet and big band, between ...