Born in the Storyville section of New Orleans, Louisiana
Arrested on New Year's Eve after discharging a pistol in the air
Sent to live at the Colored Waif's Home for Boys ; received first exposure to musical training
Played in various bands in Storyville
Joined Fate Marable's band in St. Louis, Missouri
Invited to join Joe Oliver's Creole Jazz Band; played second coronet
At wife's urging, left Oliver and moved to NYC
Spent a year playing with Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra
Began playing on recording sessions for blues singers like Bessie Smith
Moved to Chicago and joined wife Lillian Hardin's musical group; performed at the Dreamland
Made first recordings for Okeh Records with the Hot Five and the Hot Seven bands
Played in the pit orchestra for the all-Black revue "Hot Chocolates"
Made popular recording of Fats Waller's song "Ain't Misbehavin'"
Relocated to L.A.; fronted the Sebastian New Cotton Club Orchestra
Began playing trumpet in the 1930s
Toured extensively throughout the USA and Europe
Appeared in the movie musical "Pennies From Heaven"