Cornetist Johnny Wiggs was born John Wigginton Hyman on July 25, 1899, in New Orleans, LA. He began his music career playing the violin, but he learned the cornet and moved to New York City to try his luck in their local scene. He moved back to Louisiana in the late '20s, working as a public school teacher under his real name while moonlighting as Johnny Wiggs at local jazz clubs. He gained a reputation not only as a good player, but one of the few Jewish cornet players in jazz at the time. He tried to separate his teaching and music careers as much as possible, but by the '40s the lure of the stage was too much and he took up music full-time again. He led several bands and began to record, finding local success as well as a good musical partnership with Eddie Miller for a period. By the '60s he went back to playing part-time again, but he still recorded and found time to work with Maxine Sullivan on her material. He stopped playing in the '70s due to deteriorating health, and in October of 1977 he passed away a relatively unknown figure in the genre, despite his impressive body of work.