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Jack Sohmer

jazz pianist, composer, and singer, was born Lillian Hardin in Memphis, Tennessee, the daughter of Dempsey Hardin, a strict, churchgoing woman who disapproved of blues music. Nothing is known of her father. At age six Lil began playing organ at home, and at eight she started studying piano. In 1914 she enrolled in the music school of Fisk University in Nashville, taking academic courses and studying piano and music theory. After earning her diploma, around 1917 she joined her mother in Chicago, where she found work demonstrating songs in Jones' Music Store. Prompted by her employer, in 1918 Hardin became house pianist for the clarinetist Lawrence Duhé's band at Bill Bottoms's Dreamland Ballroom, where she played with the cornetists “Sugar Johnny” Smith, Freddie Keppard, and King Oliver; the trombonist Roy Palmer; and other New Orleans musicians Because she was still a minor her mother ...

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Lisa Clayton Robinson

Armstrong's career as a Jazz musician began with a job in a music store in Chicago, Illinois. She met Louis Armstrong while they were both with King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band in Chicago. They married in 1924 and divorced in 1938 Armstrong worked with her husband in the ...

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Lil Hardin Armstrong is one of the great treasures of American jazz. In a day when women in music were the singers, Hardin played the piano, composed, arranged, and managed—both her own career and that of her husband Louis Armstrong. Uncredited for many years, happily she has begun to gain some well-deserved attention.

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Lillian Beatrice Hardin was the daughter of Dempsey Martin and William Hardin Reports differ on whether Hardin s parents divorced or whether her father died when she was young but it is known that Hardin was raised by her mother and her maternal grandmother in a strictly religious household Hardin was attracted to music almost from birth and began playing the organ when she was very young By the time she was six her mother had arranged that she take additional piano lessons from her schoolteacher and by nine she ...

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James Dapogny

(b New Orleans, Aug 4, 1901; d New York, July 6, 1971). American jazz trumpeter, singer and bandleader.

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Kathy J. Ogren

One of the twentieth century's premier jazz musicians, Louis Armstrong was born in poverty in New Orleans. He first learned to play brass instruments in Joseph Jones's Colored Waifs' Home. His skills matured in settings where ensemble jazz improvisation first evolved, including street parades, dance halls, and Fate Marable's Mississippi riverboat band. Armstrong's considerable influence as a jazz pioneer began with membership in the bands of Edward (“Kid”) Ory (1918) and Joseph (“King”) Oliver (1922), with whom he first recorded in 1923. Armstrong also collaborated with blues musicians like Bessie Smith.

A virtuoso trumpet soloist, Armstrong through his Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings (1925–1928) disseminated jazz improvisation to a wide audience. His initial success was followed by fame as a band leader and vocalist; beginning in 1929, he fronted his own bands, including Louis Armstrong's All Stars (1947 ...

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Karl Rodabaugh

jazz cornet player, trumpeter, and vocalist. Louis Armstrong's musical style and charismatic personality transformed jazz from a “raucous” and “vulgar” regional form of dance music into an internationally beloved popular art form. Also known as “Satchel-mouth” and “Pops,” Armstrong first gained renown as an innovative cornet player and trumpeter whose creative energy helped bring about the movement of jazz into swing in the 1920s. But he also achieved fame as a vocalist whose distinctive style, including some specific features identified as “Afro-American,” influenced scores of jazz singers and thus played a significant role in shaping popular music of the twentieth century.

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Frank Tirro

jazz trumpeter and singer, known universally as “Satchmo” and later as “Pops,” was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of William Armstrong, a boiler stoker in a turpentine plant, and Mary Est “Mayann” Albert, a laundress. Abandoned by his father shortly after birth, Armstrong was raised by his paternal grandmother, Josephine, until he was returned to his mother's care at age five. Mother and son moved from Jane Alley, in a violence‐torn slum, to an only slightly better area, Franklyn and Perdido streets, where nearby cheap cabarets gave the boy his first introduction to the new kind of music, jazz, that was developing in New Orleans. Although Armstrong claims to have heard the early jazz cornetist Buddy Bolden when he was about age five, this incident may be apocryphal. As a child, he worked odd jobs, sang in a vocal quartet, and around 1911 bought a ...

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More than anyone else, Louis Armstrong was responsible for legitimizing and popularizing jazz for a wider public. A much-admired jazz trumpeter and gravel-voiced vocalist, Armstrong was also a consummate entertainer, steadily expanding his career from instrumentalist to popular singer, to film and television personality, and, ultimately, to cultural icon. He acquired many nicknames throughout his life, including Dippermouth, Pops, and Satchelmouth—the latter often contracted to Satchmo. As Satchmo, he was instantly identifiable around the world, decades before PrinceMadonna, or Sting. The international appeal of his music in effect made Armstrong the American goodwill ambassador to the world.

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Michael Mizell-Nelson

jazz guitarist and banjoist, vocalist, and author, was born Daniel Moses Barker in New Orleans, Louisiana, to Moses Barker, a drayman, and Rose Barbarin Barker. Barker grew up in New Orleans with a largely absent Baptist father of rural origins and a mother whose familial connections to the Barbarin family, famed in New Orleans music, rooted him in the city's Creole of Color musical community. His childhood experiences immersed him in the cultures of both sides of his family: rural Protestant and urban Roman Catholic.

Barker's uncle, the drummer Paul Barbarin composer of the jazz standard Bourbon Street Parade started Danny on drums after trying the clarinet Danny decided to play multiple string instruments guitar banjo and ukulele A teenaged Barker played in spasm bands children s bands that featured rudimentary instruments often created from discarded objects Playing ukulele Barker led a spasm band named ...

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Caryn E. Neumann

a bass drummer, vocalist, and leader of the New Orleans-based Treme Brass Band, is perhaps most famous as a New Orleans personality. He grew up as one of sixteen children of a blacksmith. As a child, he worked as a shoeshiner in the French Quarter and often entertained with his tap dancing performances at a whites-only club. He began playing rhythm sticks and bells at the age of eight. He later settled on the snare drum, noting that he wanted to avoid both damaging his lips from playing brass or developing a sore jaw from a reed instrument. Batiste learned his signature slide-and-hop dance from studying drummer Papa Knox. Batiste also played the banjo, piano, violin, washboard, and kazoo.

Throughout his career Batiste performed as a drummer with various bands including the Square Deal Social and Pleasure Club but earned steady income by working as a bricklayer ...

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Jason Philip Miller

jazz guitarist, musician, and singer was born in the Hill District the African American center of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Little information about his early life is available except that Benson enjoyed a musical upbringing and was considered something of a wunderkind Indeed he won his first singing contest at the age of four and before he was ten years old he was performing publicly winning more music contests and appearing on local radio broadcasts His favorite instrument was the guitar he d actually first picked up a ukulele that had been handmade for him by his stepfather but he sang as well and at the age of ten he recorded his first single She Makes Me Mad for an offshoot of the RCA label At first he was interested in rhythm and blues and rock and roll but soon he fell under the influence of the jazz greats ...

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Barry Kernfeld

jazz trombonist and singer, was born Clyde Edric Barnhardt in Gold Hill, North Carolina, the son of Washington Michael Barnhardt, a miner, and Elizabeth Mauney. When Clyde was a child, he added Barron to his name because his grandmother in slavery had been lent to a family named Barron who treated her kindly. He changed the spelling of his surname in 1930 on the advice of a psychic. Thus his full name became Clyde Edric Barron Bernhardt or Clyde E. B. Bernhardt.

In 1912, after his father suffered a heart attack and left mining, Bernhardt helped to peddle goods from a wagon. The family moved to New Hope (later absorbed into Badin), North Carolina, and in 1915 his father died. Bernhardt attended school for three months each year while holding various jobs, including work at Alcoa Aluminum in 1918 The following year his mother ...

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Michael J. Budds

singer, drummer, and bandleader, was born Myron Carlton Bradshaw in Youngstown, Ohio. His parents' names are unknown. He played the drums from the age of ten and soon after was performing professionally as a drummer and vocalist. Early in his career he served as the drummer of the Jump Johnson Band in Buffalo, New York. He attended Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio, and majored in psychology. Before forming his own big band in 1934, he sang with Horace Henderson's Collegians, and in New York he either drummed or sang with Marion Hardy's Alabamians, the Savoy Bearcats, Mills Blue Rhythm Band (1932–1933), and Luis Russell (1933–1934).

Bradshaw s own band enjoyed long engagements in the ballrooms and nightclubs of Harlem notably the Savoy and the Apollo Philadelphia and Chicago and toured throughout the United States and Europe making its reputation with powerful blues based jazz His ...

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Mark Steven Maulucci

to Mose Brown and Mattie Simpson. Charles studied classical piano at Galveston High School and played at local beaches and churches in the mid-1930s. He went to Prairie View A & M College, a HBCU in Prairie View, Texas, where he earned a B.S. degree in Chemistry. He worked as a teacher at George Washington Carver High School in Baytown, Texas, around 1942. He worked outside music in Pine Bluff, Arkansas in 1943 and moved to the West Coast soon after. After briefly working in the Bay Area, he settled in Los Angeles. Interestingly, most Mississippi Delta area bluesmen migrated north to Chicago, while most Texas bluesmen moved west to California.

In 1944 Charles won first prize in an amateur talent show at the Lincoln Theater in Los Angeles Guitarist Johnny Moore and bassist Eddie Williams were in attendance and asked Brown to fill out their trio as ...

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Leslie Gourse

jazz pianist and singer, was born in Meridian, Mississippi, the daughter of a Baptist minister. The names of her parents are unknown. Some sources set her birth in 1909, while others suggest that she may have been five or more years older than that; the year 1907 is based on Social Security records, where her name is listed as Cleo Patra Brown. Her surname is sometimes spelled Browne.

Cleo began taking piano lessons as early as age four and she was soon accompanying the choir in her father s church The family moved to Chicago when Brown was ten years old Though her father came to disapprove of his daughter s playing she continued studying piano and when only fourteen years old she found a job with a traveling orchestra and went on the road She worked in South Side Chicago s Three Deuces Club leading her own ...

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Scott Yanow

blues and jazz singer and pianist, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. Butler, who was born blind due to glaucoma, started playing piano when he was six and sang in the choir of the Louisiana State School for the Blind when he was seven. While at the school, he studied classical piano and, starting in eleventh grade, voice training that included opera. He also studied drums, baritone horn, and valve trombone although he did not pursue a career on those instruments.

Butler began playing piano professionally when he was fourteen in Baton Rouge area clubs. While attending the Southern University in Baton Rouge in the late 1960s, he studied with Alvin Batiste, who guided him toward the recordings of Charlie Parker and John Coltrane along with Brazilian, Afro-Cuban, and Caribbean music. He also had private lessons with Professor Longhair Harold Mabern and Roland Hanna and received a grant ...

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Michael J. Budds

jazz pianist, singer, and composer of popular songs, was born in Zanesville, Ohio, the daughter of Edward E. Carlisle and Mellie (maiden name unknown), a schoolteacher. The assertion that Una Mae was born in Xenia, Ohio—published in many references—does not conform to family records. With piano training from her mother, Una Mae sang and played in public at age three in Chillicothe, Ohio. After participating in musical activities at church and school in Jamestown and Xenia, Ohio, she began performing regularly on the radio station WHIO in Dayton while still a youngster. In 1932 she came to the notice of Thomas “Fats” Waller in Cincinnati and quickly became his protégée and the beneficiary of his counsel.

Until the end of 1933 Carlisle worked alongside the well-known entertainer Waller, both on tour and in his Rhythm Club broadcasts for the Cincinnati station WLW which boasted the highest wattage of any ...

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Michael J. Budds

Carlisle, Una Mae (26 December 1915–07 November 1956), jazz pianist, singer, and composer of popular songs, was born in Zanesville, Ohio, the daughter of Edward E. Carlisle and Mellie (maiden name unknown), a schoolteacher. (The assertion that she was born in Xenia, Ohio, published in many references, does not conform to family records.) With piano training from her mother, she sang and played in public at age three in Chillicothe, Ohio. After participating in musical activities at church and school in Jamestown and Xenia, Ohio, she began performing regularly on radio station WHIO in Dayton while still a youngster. In 1932 she came to the notice of Thomas “Fats” Waller in Cincinnati and quickly became his protégée and the beneficiary of his counsel. Until the end of 1933 she worked alongside the well-known entertainer, both on tour and on his Rhythm Club broadcasts for Cincinnati station ...

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Scott Yanow

jazz singer and pianist, was born Lionel Frederick Coles in Chicago, Illinois, the youngest son of the Reverend Edward James Coles Sr., a Baptist minister, and Perlina Adams Coles, a choir leader. He came from a very musical family that included his mother, who played piano, and three older brothers who became professional musicians: the pianist and singer Nat King Cole (who was twelve years older than Freddy), the bassist and pianist Eddie Coles, and the singer and pianist Ike Cole. Among the musicians who visited the Coles home were Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Lionel Hampton.

Freddy Coles started playing piano when he was five years old and he sang in his father s church choir He had hopes of playing football professionally until a hand injury forced him to abandon that dream Instead he became a professional musician when he was fifteen years old ...

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Kevin Brook

jazz and popular music producer, composer, keyboardist, and singer, was born in San Rafael, California to Thaddeus “Jim” Duke, a shipyard worker, and Beatrice Burrell Duke. He began practicing the piano at the age of seven under the tutelage of Wyna Barron. The gospel music he heard at his Baptist church was a pivotal influence. His love of music, particularly jazz, carried through his teenage years and in 1967 he earned a bachelor of music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

In 1965 Duke and the singer Al Jarreau began to perform together at the Half Note Club in San Francisco This was the start of a long term musical partnership that led Duke to produce for and tour with Jarreau in later decades Duke also began to perform with other instrumentalists at the club forming the George Duke Trio with bassist John ...