Cootie Williams

Birth Name:
Charles Melvin Williams
Birth Date:
July 10, 1911
Birth Place:
Mobile, Alabama
Death Date:
September 15, 1985
Place of Death:
Long Island Jewish Hospital, New York, New York
Cause of Death:
Kidney disease
Cemetery Name:
Woodlawn Cemetery
Claim to Fame:
Cootie Williams was an American jazz, jump blues, and rhythm and blues trumpeter who is best remembered for his tenure with the Duke Ellington Orchestra. Cootie first played professionally with the Young Family Band (which included the future tenor sax superstar Lester Young) when he was 14. In his later teens, he settled in New York and worked with James P. Johnson, Chick Webb, and Fletcher Henderson. Joining the Duke Ellington Orchestra in 1929, among the hundreds of Ellington recordings on which he is featured, the “miniature concertos” “Echoes of Harlem” and “Concerto for Cootie” are especially noted; he also led a small ensemble of fellow Ellington band members, Cootie Williams and His Rug Cutters, on outstanding recordings. Williams left Ellington in 1940 and spent a year in Benny Goodman’s band. In the face of the general decline of the big band business, he led a big band for much of the 1940s and rhythm-and-blues units after that. He rejoined Ellington in 1962; by then he was a somewhat coarser but no less dramatic player. After Duke’s death he played in the Mercer Ellington band into the 1970s.

Cemetery Information:

Final Resting Place:

Woodlawn Cemetery

4199 Webster Avenue

Bronx, New York, 10470


North America


Map of Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York

Grave Location:

Alpine Hill Section

Grave Location Description

As you enter the cemetery make your way to the intersection of Alpine, Fir and Heather Avenue which is now know as “Jazz Corner”  with the final resting places of Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Lionel Hampton and about another dozen jazz heavyweights reside. Drive a short distance to the corner of Heather Avenue and Park Avenue and look for the upright “Keith” monument. Directly behind this monument you will find the simple flat marker of Cootie Williams.

Grave Location GPS

40.88308043345, -73.87334622244



Read More About Cootie Williams:

Videos Featuring Cootie Williams:

See More:

Booker Little Jr.

popular name: Booker Little Jr.

date_of_death: October 5, 1961

age: 23

cause_of_death: Complications from uremia caused by kidney failure

claim_to_fame: Music

best_know_for: Booker Little, twenty-three year-old composer, arranger and trumpet player has lately come to demonstrate, in recordings and as the musical director of the Max Roach group, a talent that was taken too early. When he died suddenly at the age of 23 he was one of the most promising jazz trumpeters working with Max Roach, Eric Dolphy and John Coltrane. After years of physical pain, Little died of complications resulting from kidney failure on October 5, 1961, in New York City at the age 23. He was survived by his wife, two sons Booker T. III and Larry Cornelius, and two daughters Cornelia and Ana Dorsey.

Dick Dale

popular name: Dick Dale

date_of_death: March 16, 2019

age: 81

cause_of_death: Heart and kidney failure

claim_to_fame: Music

best_know_for: Dick Dale was an American rock guitarist. He was the pioneer of surf music, drawing on Middle Eastern music scales and experimenting with reverb. Dale was known as "The King of the Surf Guitar", which was also the title of his second studio album. Dale was one of the most influential guitarists of all time and especially of the early 1960s. Most of the leading bands in surf music, such as The Beach Boys, Jan and Dean and The Trashmen, were influenced by Dale's music, and often included recordings of Dale's songs in their albums. His style and music influenced guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix, Pete Townshend, Eddie Van Halen and Brian May. He has been mentioned as one of the fathers of heavy metal. Many credit him with tremolo picking, a technique that is now widely used in many musical genres (such as extreme metal, folk etc.). His speedy single-note staccato picking technique was unmatched until guitarists like Eddie Van Halen entered the music scene.

John Phillips

popular name: John Phillips

date_of_death: March 18, 2001

age: 65

cause_of_death: Heart Failure, end stage liver disease, cirrhosis and sepsis

claim_to_fame: Music

best_know_for: He is famous for his role in organizing the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, his incestuous relationship with his daughter Mackenzie, oh and I almost forgot - as a member and leader of the vocal group The Mamas and the Papas. And it was said that his destructive tendencies were too florid even for Keith Richards, who once kicked Phillips out of his house for being too out-of-control. Be that as it may, in addition to writing the majority of the group's compositions including "California Dreamin'", "Monday, Monday", "I Saw Her Again", "Creeque Alley", and "Dedicated to the One I Love", he also wrote "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)" in 1967 for former Journeymen bandmate Scott McKenzie as well as the oft-covered "Me and My Uncle", which was a favorite in the repertoire of the Grateful Dead.

Back to Top