Jazz Demons

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The Jazz Demons, also known as Whatley's Jazz Saxophone Demons and Whatley's Negro Society Dance Orchestra, was an all-star dance band created in 1921 or 1922 by Industrial High School music director John "Fess" Whatley and made up of current and former students. The group, remembered as the city's first true "jazz band", played regularly at the Elk's Dancing Palace and were said in a February 1922 item in Billboard magazine to be rising in popularity across the region.

The lineup of the Jazz Demons was reported at that time as Herman Ford on piano, Trenton Harris on clarinet, Nathanial Rutherford on violin and saxophone, Calves Ivory on clarinet and saxophone, Joe Britton on trombone, and Wilson Driver on drums. Trombinist and tuba player Hardy Arrington and Walter Blythe also served as the band's booking agents.


  • Billboard (February 4, 1922)