Vernon Alley

Bass, Musical Artist

1915 – 2004


Who was Vernon Alley?

Vernon Alley was an American jazz bassist.

Alley was born in Winnemucca, Nevada, and played football in high school and college. His brother, Eddy Allen, was a drummer; they played together often. Vernon played with Wes People in 1937 and with Saunders King until the end of the decade. He briefly led his own band in 1940.

Around 1940, while in Lionel Hampton's band, Alley switched from double bass to electric bass, one of the first musicians to do so. In 1942 he moved to Count Basie's ensemble, where he played only for a few months and appeared in the film Reveille with Beverly. He played in the U.S. Navy Band during World War II, and after returning put together an ensemble in San Francisco. He continued to play there and was an active member on local radio and in civic arts into the 1990s. He died there in 2004.

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May 26, 1915
Oct 3, 2004
San Francisco

on July 23, 2013


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