An important early bassist, John Lindsay appeared on many notable recordings in his career. He started playing bass while a teenager in his father's family band. He served in the Army during World War I and then learned trombone, which he used as a double until the mid-'20s. Early experience included playing trombone with John Robichaux in New Orleans, A.J. Piron in New York (recording in 1923), Dewey Jackson's band on the riverboats, and then in 1925 with Willie Hightower, Carroll Dickerson, Lil Hardin and Jimmy Bell in Chicago. At that point Lindsay became a full-time bassist. He toured with
Louis Armstrong in 1931-32, and spent his last 25 years based in Chicago. During the 1940s, he led a quartet at the Music Bar in Chicago and worked occasionally for other musicians including Darnell Howard. Although he never led his own session, Lindsay recorded with Jelly Roll Morton's Red Hot Peppers in 1926, Richard M. Jones, the Harlem Hamfats in 1936-37, Johnny Dodds, Jimmie Noone and Punch Miller.