Tommy Ladnier biography

Tommy Ladnier

Cornet, Musical Artist

1900 – 1939


Who was Tommy Ladnier?

Thomas James "Tommy" Ladnier was an American jazz trumpeter. French jazz critic Hugues Panassié rated him second only to Louis Armstrong.

Ladnier was born in Mandeville, Louisiana across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans. He played in the local Independence Band led by clarinetist Isidore Fritz from c. 1914. Trumpeter Bunk Johnson sometimes also played with this band and gave young Ladnier tuition. In 1917, he moved with his mother to Chicago. At first he, like many Southerners coming to Chicago, worked at the Chicago Stock Yards. He married Hazel B “Daisy” Mathews in 1920 and became a professional musician around 1921. He played for some time in St. Louis with Charlie Creath.

From 1923, he played in Chicago and made numerous recordings for Paramount Records with pianist Lovie Austin, accompanying blues singers like Ma Rainey, Ida Cox, and Alberta Hunter. In 1923, his beloved mother was accidentally shot in at a party quarrel. This took him deeply and the incident is generally considered as the cause of his alcoholic abuse. For some time Ladnier played with his great inspiration King Oliver.

In 1925, Ladnier joined pianist Sam Wooding for an extensive European tour.


Use the citation below to add to a bibliography:


"Tommy Ladnier." STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 8 Jul 2020. <>.

Discuss this Tommy Ladnier biography with the community:

We need you!

Help us build the largest biographies collection on the web!

May 28, 1900
Also known as
  • Ladnier, Tommy
  • United States of America
Jun 4, 1939
New York City

on July 23, 2013