Deems, once billed as "the world's fastest drummer," began working professionally in the late 1920s, and led a number of Chicago-area bands before joining Joe Venuti (1937) with whom he worked for 7 years. He then worked with Jimmy Dorsey (1945), Red Norvo (1948) and Muggsy Spanier (1951), Armstrong, Jack Teagarden (1960-4). He also led his own band, Chicago's Brass Rail club, worked with the Dukes of Dixieland, Joe Kelly's Gaslight Band, played and recorded with Art Hodes, and toured with a number of Armstrong Tribute bands.
In 1952, Barrett Deems began one of the high points of his career, working for Louis Armstrong and his All Star Band all over the world. Deems refers to Louis as a "beautiful person" talking about how his companion would give money to the sick and needy. Deems also witnessed the racial discrimination during those times, and being the only white band member sometimes faced hateful comments. But Armstrong, Deems, and associates were focused on their passion for music.
You can hear him on Louis Armstrong's Satch Play's Fats and Louis Armstrong Plays W.C. Handy as well as his appearance in the 1956 film High Society.