Gigging Around Town


Gregarious and comely, Lucille Webb held court in her namesake club; greeting and schmoozing patrons while her husband S. D. ran the kitchen. In April 1938, Charlie joined alto saxophonist Buster Smith’s band for a regular engagement at Lucille’s. Onstage, Smith mentored young Charlie, teaching him how to go in and out of key and play double time. An eager student, Charlie could soon improve on anything that Smith played. Broadcasts from Lucille’s by KXBY introduced Charlie to listeners across the Midwest.

Local 627/Mutual Musicians Foundation

Established in 1917 by a small group of musicians and educators, Colored Musicians Local Number 627 grew to include 347 members by 1930. Having outgrown their headquarters, union members raised money and bought the building at 1823 Highland. Charlie joined Local 627 in October 1935 for an engagement with George E. Lee at Paseo Hall. Charlie remained a member until 1945, when he was suspended for nonpayment of dues, and transferred to the national union

Lincoln Hall

The three-story red brick Lincoln Building opened in 1921. Located on the southeast corner of 18th and Vine, the Lincoln Building formed the cornerstone of the 18th and Vine District. The first floor featured Matlaw’s (a popular men’s clothing store) and other retail shops. Offices for dentists, doctors, and attorneys populated the second floor. Lincoln Hall occupied the third floor of the Lincoln Building.