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He was part of the bands of Billy Eckstine and Woody Herman from the middle to the end of the 1940s. In 1950 , he formed a duo with Sonny Stitt. His later career was interrupted by two arrests for Narcotics possession, the first time from 1958 to 1960, the second from 1962 to 1969.
He died in 1974 at the age of 49 from complications of bone cancer.