Music, School of


Date of this Version



Working paper, issued 08/26/2016


This document is one in a series---"Chronology and Itinerary of the Career of"---devoted to a small number of African American musicians active ca. 1900-1950. They are fallout from my work on a pair of essays, "US Army Black Regimental Bands and The Appointments of Their First Black Bandmasters" (2013) and "Black US Army Bands and Their Bandmasters in World War I" (2012/2016). In all cases I have put into some kind of order a number of biographical research notes, principally drawing upon newspaper and genealogy databases. None of them is any kind of finished, polished document; all represent work in progress, complete with missing data and the occasional typographical error. I invite queries, amplifications, and corrections, which may be directed to The present document is a first draft of August 2016.

Copyright (c) 2016 Peter M. Lefferts


James Timothy Brymn (1873-1945), a composer, conductor, and arranger, was one of the cohort of top African American dance band and theatre orchestra leaders active in Chicago and New York who became Army bandleaders in WWI. In the first decade of the 20th century, he was acknowledged as a pre-eminent master of ragtime and one of the premiere song writers of America. Brymn was the author of one of the first published blues (1912), the author of some of the first published tangos (in 1913 and 1914), the author of one of the first published jazz numbers (1917), and the composer of the show (Dinah) that introduced the Black Bottom dance to American in the Roaring Twenties. A member of ASCAP, he wrote songs for five decades, from the 1900s to the 1940s, and had big hits in at least four decades, from the 1900s through the 1930s.