Personalities | Panama Francis | Fifties | Jazz & Blues
David Albert Francis was born in Miami, Florida. He worked around Florida with saxophonist George Kelly before going to New York in 1938. The following year he made his recording debut with Roy Eldridge, who named him after his choice of hats. Francis worked with Lucky Millinder from 1940–46 and Cab Calloway from 1947–52 but his reputation dates mainly from his session work in New York. He was the first-call drummer on R&B sessions throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, and was an important figure in changing the black swing beat to R&B.
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