McKinney’s Cotton Pickers

McKinney’s Cotton Pickers were an African American jazz band, founded in Detroit, Illinois, United States, in 1926 by William McKinney, who expanded his Synco Septet to ten pieces. Between 1927 and 1931, they were one of the most popular African-American bands. Many of their records for Victor were bestsellers. In 1927, Fletcher Henderson’s arranger and saxophone player Don Redman was invited to become the Cotton Pickers’ musical director, and he assembled a band which rivalled Henderson’s and Duke Ellington’s. Aiding Redman with arrangements and rehearsals with the band was the talented trumpeter-arranger John Nesbitt. The line-up in 1928 was Cuba Austin (drums and vocals), Prince Robinson (clarinet, tenor saxophone), George Thomas (clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, vocals; Redman (arranger, clarinet, alto saxophone, baritone saxophone, vocals, and leader), Dave Wilborn (banjo, vocals), Todd Rhodes (piano, celeste), Ralph Escudero (tuba), Nesbitt, Claude Jones (trombone), Milton Senior, Langston Curl (trumpet).