Pee Wee Erwin

Cliff Leeman

Born Clifford Leeman, Portland Maine, 9/10/1913, (died in New York, April 26, 1986). [Also known as "Mr. Time" or "the Sheriff"] Cliff played drums in many of the best swing bands of the '30s and '40s, including Shaw, Barnet, both Dorseys and Woddy Herman. In 1944 he led his own small band. Later in the 40s he played with Don Byas(1944), John Kirby (1944, 45), Ben Webster and many others at clubs in New York and also int the big bands ofr Barnet (1949) and Bob Chester (1949-50).

Besides working regularly on Raymond Scott's radio show Hit Parade (CBS) throughout the 1950s he appeared frequently at clubs such as Eddi Condon's and recorded as a member for groups led by Yank Lawson and Bob Haggart (1951-60) and with Ralph Sutton (1953, 1954). 1960 in Las Vegas with Bob Crosby. He appeared on TV w. Red Nichols and on Chicago and All That Jazz in 1961. With Wild Bill Davison, recorded and performed at Nicks in New York in 1962, and toured with Lawson. Dick Haymes '63, Duke of Dixieland in Las Vegas and Mexico City '63-'64, Peanuts Hucko at Eddie Condon's NYC in '64.

He appeared in several all-star jazz concerts at Aspen, Colorado in the period 1963 to 1965 and toured Australia, New Zealand, Japan in 1964 with a large traditional group including Condon, Rushing, Clayton. Columbia, SC JF '65 with Tony Parenti, At Hodes. Recorded with Joe Turner (Atlantic) Bob Crosby (Dot), Condon (Columbia), Steve Allen (Decca) and Billy Butterfield (Essex).

Later tours (1974 and 1976) he performed in Europe with Kings of Jazz and Davison. In 1974 he recorded with Bud Freeman and a group leb by Joe Venuti and Zoot Sims. In 1977-7 he worked again with Lawson and Haggart as a member of The World's Greatest Jazz Band

He continued to perform at clubs and festivals until his last years. A versatile and highly accomplished drummer, he was equally well equipped to play in big and small bands.

Majority of bio by Johnny Simmen
Oral history material in the NjR

Also see, W.Vache Sr.:"Portraits: Cliff Leeman," MD, x/4 (1986), 45