George 'Butch' Ballard to Receive 2006 Mellon Jazz Community Award

Legendary drummer played in Duke Ellington, Count Basie Bands; at 88, still

teaches jazz to youths

Dec 01, 2006, 00:00 ET from Mellon Financial Corporation

    PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- In recognition of his more than
 six decades of performing with some of the most demanding jazz bandleaders,
 along with his continued commitment to share his vast knowledge and
 experience with tomorrow's generation of jazz drummers, George "Butch"
 Ballard has been named the recipient of the 2006 Mellon Jazz Community
     "We are pleased to honor a jazz legend and a true gentleman who is
 still plying his craft with his peers. And just as Butch Ballard was first
 taught the drum basics more than 60 years ago, he understands the
 importance of passing these skills along to his students," said David
 Kutch, chairman of Mellon Financial Corporation's Mid-Atlantic region.
 "When you look at Butch's impressive background and credentials, it's no
 wonder that the 'All Music Guide' states that he provided the rhythm for a
 veritable Mount Rushmore of jazz stars and big band giants."
     Born in Camden, NJ in 1918, Ballard moved to the Frankford area of
 Philadelphia at an early age and still lives in that neighborhood. As a
 youngster, he would follow local parades and admire the drummers.
 Eventually, his father agreed to let young Butch take drum lessons for 75
 cents a week. His first public performance was with the Frankford Boys
 Club, and his first professional job was with Louis Armstrong's The Dukes
 in 1938. In 1941, Butch joined the Cootie Williams Orchestra, a band that
 played in the style of Duke Ellington, and remained with that band after
 serving in the Navy during World War II.
     As one of the great early jazz drummers, Ballard also was highly sought
 after for performances and recordings in both the U.S. and Europe. During
 his illustrious career, other jazz greats with whom Ballard performed
 include Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Sonny Greer, Ella Fitzgerald, Arnette
 Cobbs, Lucy Millinder, Bootsie Barnes, Terry Clark, Sarah Vaughn, Bob
 Dorsey, Eddy Vincent and Mercer Ellington. In addition to teaching music,
 the 89-year-old Ballard currently performs with the Philadelphia Legends of
 Jazz Orchestra.
     The Mellon Jazz Community Award recognizes local individuals,
 organizations, musicians, programs and institutions for their significant
 contributions to jazz in the southeastern Pennsylvania area. Taking the
 form of an original glass sculpture by noted Pennsylvania glass artist
 Kathleen Mulcahy, the award will be accompanied by a $5,000 contribution
 from Mellon Jazz to the Philadelphia Clef Club's jazz education programs.
 The four previous awardees were Denise King, promoter of free community
 jazz programs and founder of "BeBop and Books" (2005); WRTI-FM, Temple
 University's public radio station (2004); Anthony H. "Tony" Williams,
 founder of the Mount Airy Cultural Center (2003); and Bob Perkins,
 long-time jazz broadcaster and journalist (2002).
     Mellon Financial Corporation's year-round celebration of jazz
 excellence, Mellon Jazz is marking its 21st anniversary in Philadelphia
 this year and 20th in Pittsburgh. In both cities, Mellon Jazz supports
 non-profit organizations engaged in live jazz performances and jazz
 education, and recognizes individuals and organizations that have made
 significant contributions to each city's rich jazz tradition. More
 information on Mellon Jazz initiatives is available at
     Mellon Financial Corporation is a global financial services company.
 Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Mellon is one of the world's leading providers
 of financial services for institutions, corporations and high net worth
 individuals, providing institutional asset management, private wealth
 management, asset servicing and payment solutions and investor services.
 Mellon has approximately $5.3 trillion in assets under management,
 administration or custody, including $918 billion under management. News
 and other information about Mellon is available at

SOURCE Mellon Financial Corporation