From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Wells, Johnny

(born: 1905  -  died: 1965) 

Johnny Wells, born in Kentucky, was a drummer, singer, comedian, and dancer at the Apex Club in Chicago, IL. Later, during the 1920s and 1930s, he played with Jimmie Noone's Band in Chicago, replacing drummer Olie Powers; he played on several of the band's recordings.

Wells also played with a number of other bands before leaving Chicago for New York, where he performed and recorded with Joe Sullivan and his Cafe Society Orchestra.

For more see Johnny Wells in Oxford Music Online (database); and Joe Sullivan and his Cafe Society Orchestra in the Red Hot Jazz Archive at

Outside Kentucky Place Name


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Oxford Music Online (database)

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry:  Kentucky African American Musicians in Illinois (Chicago)

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Wells, Johnny,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 27, 2022,

Last modified: 2020-12-14 17:57:36