Douglas, Billy [William ]
- Frank Driggs
(b New Haven, CT, Aug 12, 1912; d Springfield, MA, April 14, 1978). American trumpeter, singer, and arranger. He played in the big bands of Earle Howard (1932–3) and Percy Nelson (1933–4), then worked with Sidney Bechet, Jelly Roll Morton (mid-1930s), and the pianist Jimmie Gunn (1935). From 1935 to 1937 he was a soloist with Don Albert’s band, and in 1936 recorded eight titles with the group, including his own arrangements of True Blue Lou (Voc. 3401), On the Sunny Side of the Street (Voc. 3423), and Liza (Voc. 3491). During the late 1930s and the 1940s Douglas played as a freelance in New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago, then from 1944 to 1945 worked with Earl Hines, recording again as a soloist on Scoops Carry’s Merry (1945), first issued on The Father Jumps (1939–45, Bb AXM2-5508). His career was brought to an end by his dependence on alcohol. Douglas patterned his style after that of Henry “Red” Allen and, although his playing was less angular than Allen’s, it had the same fire and expressiveness. (...