Avery Parrish Age: 42 | Cause Of Death: MYSTERIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES

(Born: Jan. 24, 1917 in Birmingham, AL, Died: Dec. 1, 1959 in New York, NY)

Avery Parrish will always be most famous for his 1940 recording of “After Hours” with Erskine Hawkins’ Orchestra but his playing career was actually tragically brief. Parrish attended Alabama State Teachers College where he became a member of the ‘Bama Street Collegians in 1934, which in time became the Erskine Hawkins Big Band. Parrish was with Hawkins through the glory years, staying until 1941 and appearing on all of the band’s early recordings. His “After Hours,” a classic blues solo, would become a standard in future years. Parrish left Hawkins in 1941 to work in California but a year later he was in a bar fight, suffered partial paralysis and his playing career was over; he was only 24. Avery Parrish, who never recorded under his own name, spent the rest of his life working day jobs and when he was 42 he died mysteriously. — Scott Yanow