was one of the first drummers to use a big elaborate setup; his drumset at the
Cotton Club in Harlem included vibes, chimes, tympani, the works.
With the Duke Ellington orchestra, Sonny formed one of the most powerful
rhythm sections of all time with bass player Jimmy Blanton. Every jazz
drummer and bass player has at one time or another referenced their beats.
From 1919 to 1927 Sonny was a part of the Duke Ellington Cotton Club band.
He left Ellington in 1951 to join Johnny Hodges band.