Davis, Tiny [née Carroll, Ernestine]
- Howard Rye
[née Carroll, Ernestine]
(b Memphis, Aug 5, 1909; d Chicago, Jan 30, 1994). American trumpeter and singer. Her application for social security (filed in 1941) gives a birth year of 1910, but other sources, including her interview in the film Tiny & Ruby, give 1909. She began playing trumpet at Booker T. Washington High School in Memphis at the age of 13 and embarked on her professional career in Kansas City. About October 1935 she toured with the Harlem Play-Girls, but she left the band at the end of 1936 to have a baby. In the early 1940s she was recruited by Jesse Stone to join the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, with which she was a star soloist; she participated in the group’s USO tour of Europe in 1945, appeared with it in the short film How about that Jive (1946), and remained a member until 1947, when she took over a band comprised mainly of former members of the Prairie View Co-Eds. This group, which became known as the Hell Divers, included Bert Etta Davis, the tenor saxophonist Margaret Backstrom, the drummer Helen Cole, and the double bass player Ruby Lucas (also known as Renei Phelan), with whom Davis formed a musical and personal partnership; in ...