Reference Entry

Wiggs, Johnny

Barry Kernfeld

in American National Biography Online

Published in print January 1999 |
Published online February 2000 | e-ISBN: 9780198606697 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/anb/9780198606697.article.1803017

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Wiggs, Johnny (25 July 1899–09 October 1977), jazz cornetist, bandleader, and promoter, was born John Wigginton Hyman in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of a Mr. Hyman (given name unknown) and Alice (maiden name unknown). Both of Wiggs’s parents sang, and his mother played piano. He attended LaSalle school. He started to play the mandolin in 1907, studying from an older cousin until he discovered that he could play anything he wanted by ear and quit taking lessons. In 1908 he heard a bottle man who “had a New Year’s Eve noisemaking horn that had a brass reed and a wooden mouthpiece. … That man blew … the dirtiest blues sounds I have ever heard. Those sounds got into my ear and stayed there,” he later told writer George W. Kay. Influenced by this experience, he bought a cornet at age ten....

Reference Entry.  1188 words. 

Subjects: Brass ; Blues ; Jazz ; Conducting ; Music Business, Institutions, and Organizations

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