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Jeremy Rich

His father, Benjamin, was an accountant and his mother Molly (née Ekere) was a teacher and a singer, and the family belonged to the Ibibio ethnic group, chiefly resident in Akwa Ibom state in southeastern Nigeria. Akpabot taught himself to play piano when he was young. After he graduated from primary school, he moved to Lagos, where he enrolled at King’s College secondary school, which was known for its classical musical education. Akpabot also sang treble in the choir of the Anglican Cathedral Church of Christ until 1949, and he worked under Thomas Ekundayo Phillip, a skilled educator who ran the choir and taught the singers about Western classical choral music. Once he graduated from King’s College, he worked as a sports reporter for the Lagos Daily Times. During his secondary school days, Akpabot had starred on the soccer field.

In 1949 he left the choir and ...

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Philip Herbert

Nigeriancomposer, organist, and ethnomusicologist born in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state, Nigeria, in 1932. In his early education at King's College, Lagos, and as a chorister at Christchurch Cathedral, in that city, he was exposed to European classical music, Mendelssohn being his favourite composer. His musical outlook was eclectic, and he was involved in dance bands such as the Chocolate Dandies and the Akpabot Players (his own band), formed in 1949, as well as being organist at St Saviour's Anglican Church in Lagos.

Akpabot studied the trumpet and organ in London at the Royal College of Music in 1954, with teachers such as John Addison, Osborn Pisgow, and Herbert Howells. Study at the University of Chicago yielded a Master's degree in Musicology, and he also received a Ph.D. from Michigan State University. He was a broadcaster for the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (1959 ...

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Barry Kernfeld

jazz pianist, organist, and arranger, was born Milton Brent Buckner in St. Louis, Missouri. Details of his parents are unknown. His brother Ted was a jazz saxophonist who became a member of Jimmie Lunceford's big band; the brothers were not related to jazz trumpeter Teddy Buckner.

The boys’ mother died when Milt Buckner was eight years old, and their father died the following year. Milt went to live with a foster father, the trombonist John Tobias, in Detroit, Michigan; Ted also moved and lived in the home of Fred Kewley, a saxophonist who worked with Tobias in Earl Walton's Orchestra. Milt took up piano at age ten, and he reported that Tobias made him practice six hours a day. After Tobias and his wife separated, Milt was raised by the drummer George Robinson also a member of Walton s band Ted s foster father Kewley ...

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Alexander J. Chenault

was born in Washington, DC, and raised by her adopted mother Beullah Hanson Caldwell, in Baltimore, Maryland. Caldwell had a solidly middle class upbringing. Her father was a carpenter and her mother was an elementary school teacher, who later retired as a principal. Caldwell began piano lessons at the age of four with one of only two African American piano teachers in Baltimore. By the age of seven, Caldwell had given her first piano recital at Morgan State University. She attended the Hamilton Elementary School and Pimlico Middle School—which were both segregated. However, Hansonia attended the racially integrated, all‐girls, Eastern High School where she served as accompanist for the school’s choir. Caldwell graduated from high school in February of 1962.

She then attended Boston University’s School of Performing Arts, and was initiated into the Epsilon chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha in1963 and received her B Mus ...

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Jason Philip Miller

jazz organist, arranger, and performer, was born William Strethen Davis in Glasgow, a small town in central Missouri. Little information about his family or upbringing is available. What is known is that his father was a singer, and that Davis’s upbringing was a musical one. The family relocated to Parsons, Kansas, when Davis was still a young man. It is likely that Davis attended local schools, though what year he graduated in is unknown. He matriculated at Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute, likely in the middle to late 1930s, and later at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas. Upon leaving school, he pursued a career as a musician, first picking up the guitar.

For a time he wrote arrangements and played with the Texas trumpeter and bandleader Milt Larkin and his traveling group Sometime around the late 1930s Davis relocated to Chicago and there he fell in with the local blues scene He ...

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Scott Yanow

jazz and R&B organist and pianist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He grew up in poverty and, although he wanted to play the trumpet, Doggett's family was not able to afford lessons. Instead, his mother, who played piano in church, helped get him started as a pianist when he was nine. Considered a bit of a child prodigy, at 15 Doggett was playing theaters and clubs in Philadelphia, leading the Five Majors.

While still in high school, Doggett played piano with Jimmy Gorman, who had the pit orchestra at the Nixon Grand Theater in Philadelphia. Doggett became the group's leader in 1938 but, after the band successfully accompanied Lucky Millinder, he sold the group to Millinder and it became the Lucky Millinder Orchestra with Doggett on piano. Doggett worked with Jimmy Mundy's orchestra for a period in 1939 but otherwise was associated with Millinder from 1938 to ...

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Scott Yanow

jazz organist and keyboardist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Earland started out as a saxophonist, playing his father's alto sax. He would “borrow” the alto (without his father knowing it), taking it to school so he could receive free lessons. At South Philadelphia High School, he played baritone sax in a school band that included the guitarist Pat Martino, the tenor saxophonist Lew Tabackin, the pianist Bobby Timmons, and the future pop star Frankie Avalon on trumpet.

Earland attended Temple University in Philadelphia, where he played with the school band. During 1958–1961, he played tenor saxophone with the organist Jimmy McGriff's band. After watching McGriff have a great time playing organ each night, Earland began teaching himself the organ during the band's breaks. When he left the group in 1961 he switched permanently to organ putting together his own trio with Martino and the drummer Bobby ...

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was born in St. Kitts on 17 September 1925. Griffith learned to play the organ at the Methodist Church in St. Kitts before migrating to Trinidad in November 1943. She began missionary work in Trinidad by visiting hospitals and praying with the sick. Following a vision, she was baptized as a Shouter Baptist in 1951 by Pastor Lacaille, one of the leaders of the faith during the years of prohibition engendered by enactment and enforcement of the 1917 Shouters Prohibition Ordinance, which was repealed on 30 March 1951. Several years later she another vision: that of a short, dark man, clad in a black suit, felt hat, and tie. A few days later a man with a remarkable likeness to the man in her vision walked into the yard of her church. He was Elton George Griffith the leader of the public campaign to repeal the ...

Article

jazz organist, was born in Camden, New Jersey. Holmes originally played bass. After hearing Jimmy Smith, Holmes switched permanently to the organ. He was self-taught on both instruments and was one of the few jazz organists who never played piano.

Holmes, who early on in his career as an organist was nicknamed “Groove,” had a strong reputation on the Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey circuit. In 1960 he was discovered playing with Cat Anderson's band in a Pittsburgh club by pianist Les McCann, who helped get him signed to the Pacific Jazz label. Holmes's recordings for the company gave him a national reputation. Some featured McCann, and others teamed Holmes with tenor saxophonists Ben Webster or Gene Ammons. He also recorded during this period as a sideman with the Gerald Wilson Orchestra (You Better Believe It), blues singer Jimmy Witherspoon and pop alto ...

Article

Jeffrey Green

African‐American composer born in Charleston, South Carolina, where his father had recently founded an orphanage where vocational training included music. Jenkins abandoned his studies in Atlanta to play the clarinet with a band appearing at the Anglo‐American Exhibition in London in 1914. The band's performance was a success, and Jenkins decided to remain in England after the band's return to the United States. He then enrolled as a student at the Royal Academy of Music. His studies included composition with Frederick Corder, a Wagner enthusiast. He taught the clarinet, and graduated in 1921. With Caribbean students in the Coterie of Friends, Jenkins mounted a concert in 1919 with himself conducting; four instrumentalists were from the Southern Syncopated Orchestra, an American group in Britain until 1921. They played his Charlestonia, an orchestral work with three black melodies, and works by Samuel Coleridge‐Taylor.

John Alcindor ...

Article

Gayle Murchison

clarinetist, composer, and conductor, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of Daniel Jenkins, a former slave, minister, and founder-director of the Jenkins Orphanage Band, and Lena James. Jenkins attended the Avery Institute in Charleston. As a child he learned to play violin, clarinet, and piano. His first music teachers were his father and other instructors at the orphanage, which was founded in December 1891 and formally incorporated as the Orphan Aid Society in July 1892. By the time he was fourteen years old, Jenkins had learned to play all the instruments of his father's brass band. In 1908 he entered Atlanta Baptist College (now Morehouse College), where he studied violin with Kemper Harreld Jenkins participated in the symphony orchestra glee club and other musical activities During vacations he performed directed and toured with the orphanage band Jenkins left college during the ...

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Ulrich Adelt

multi-instrumentalist, producer, and arranger, was born in Memphis, Tennessee, to Booker T. Jones Sr., a high school teacher, and his wife, a school secretary. His musical talent showed early on: at age five he learned to play ukulele and piano. Five years later his parents bought him a clarinet. He played oboe in his high school band and also mastered flute, saxophone, trombone, and baritone horn. Inspired by Ray Charles, Jones started playing club gigs at age fourteen. Two years later, in 1960, he began work as a session musician for Stax Records in Memphis.

In 1962 Jones formed the instrumental group Booker T. and the MGs with members of the Mar-Keys, the first house band of Stax who had scored a national hit in 1961 with Last Night Depending on the source the band was either named after the British sports car ...

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Peggy Lin Duthie

educator and writer, was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, the daughter of John Sinclair Leary and Nannie Latham Leary. The Learys, who were of Irish, French, Scottish, and Native American descent as well as African, were regarded as one of the most prominent African American families in the state, with a collective history of activism stretching back to the American Revolution. Lewis Sheridan Leary, Love's uncle, a colleague of the abolitionist John Brown, fell mortally wounded in the raid on Harpers Ferry; his cousin John Anthony Copeland Jr. was executed for his role in the attack Love s father was the second African American admitted to the North Carolina bar dean of the Shaw University Law School in Raleigh and a Republican state representative he also handled numerous local responsibilities including that of school committeeman and Sunday school superintendent Love s mother raised six children ...

Article

David De Clue

entertainer, pianist, organist, lecturer, television and radio personality, was born John Roland Redd in St. Louis, Missouri, to Doshia O'Nina Johnson and Ernest Samuel Redd, a minister. His ancestry is both black and white, the white lineage through his maternal grandmother, Frances Maria Lankford-Johnson, stemming from Langfords who first came to Virginia from England in 1645.

Pandit's family is unusually rich in musical and creative talent. Pandit's great-uncle Philip Benjamin “PB” Lankford taught jazz to numerous musicians who went on to careers in orchestras led by Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Singleton Palmer, Fate Marable, Charles Creath, Dewey Jackson, and Cab Calloway. Another great-uncle, John Anderson Lankford, was known as “the Dean of African American Architects,” and others in the family—Arthur Edward Lankford, Robert Bumbary Sr., and Robert Bumbary Jr. also ...

Article

Scott Yanow

His mother played piano in church. Assisted at first by his mother, Patton was self-taught as a pianist from the age of thirteen.

After graduating from high school, Patton was based in Washington D.C., where he worked as a pianist. He was a member of R&B singer Lloyd Price’s band during 1954–1959, becoming his musical director and making his recording debut with Price. Patton becoming interested in playing organ by the late 1950s, permanently switched instruments and led his own organ trio starting in 1959.

Patton moved to New York in 1960. Tenor saxophonist Ike Quebec became his mentor; he gigged with guitarist Grant Green, and was a member of altoist Lou Donaldson’s group during 1962–1964. Patton became a regular on the Blue Note label (right about the time that Jimmy Smith left), leading eleven albums during 1963–1970 He also appeared as a sideman on ...

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Scott Yanow

He originally learned boogie-woogie piano from his father when he was a child, developing a strong left hand. His early influences were Nat King Cole, Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, and Erroll Garner. After playing some jobs as a pianist, Rhyne switched to the organ in the mid-1950s in order to get more work.

Rhyne gained experience playing in nightclubs in Indianapolis with Rahsaan Roland Kirk, B.B. King, T-Bone Walker, the Four Tops, Aretha Franklin, Arthur Prysock, and the top local musicians. His most famous association was with Wes Montgomery. Rhyne became a member of Montgomery’s trio in 1959 at the time when the guitarist was starting to become well known. Rhyne played with Montgomery much of the time during 1959–1964 except when the guitarist worked with the Mastersounds or was engaged in special projects Rhyne recorded four albums with the ...

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Maxine Gordon

jazz organist and pianist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the youngest of the four children of Willie Scott and Eliza. She attended Elverson Elementary School and graduated from Philadelphia High School for Girls, where she played trumpet and piano. Her family had musical roots in the community; her father ran a private jazz club in the basement of the family home, and her older brother T. L. Scott played the saxophone. At the age of six Shirley played piano in her father s club Scott began her formal musical studies on piano at the Germantown Settlement House and later studied at the Ornstein School of Music She literally ran away with a touring band to play piano when she was a senior in high school Her mother followed and brought her home a week later Scott was active as a pianist on the thriving Philadelphia club scene ...

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Diana Kristine Durham

organist, stenographer, college professor, physician, and hospital founder, was born in St. John, Antigua, British West Indies, the son of John Sebastian and Sara Elizabeth Roberts. He studied at Antigua's Mico College, a normal school established for blacks by Lady Mico Trust, where he studied a rigorous curriculum that included English, Latin, Greek, mathematics, science, astronomy, history, and geography. Sebastian, like many of the students at Mico College, viewed his normal training as preparation for a career other than teaching.

In 1901 Sebastian immigrated to the United States After arriving in Philadelphia he obtained employment as a stenographer and an organist A year later he moved to Greensboro North Carolina to work at the Agricultural and Mechanical College later North Carolina A T State University Sebastian who was broadly educated in the Caribbean taught English geography foreign languages and mathematics and was also ...

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Jason Philip Miller

jazz organist, was born James Oscar Smith in Norristown, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia. His parents were musicians, and Smith, at a very young age, began performing with his father in nearby clubs and learning to play jazz piano in the stride style. He appeared on local radio and took part in music contests, winning his first when he was just twelve years old. He attended some local schools, but dropped out prior to graduation and enlisted in the U.S. Navy. There, Smith was assigned to play in a segregated band. When he was discharged in 1947, he had a G.I. Bill in his pocket and was able to afford a college music education.

Smith attended Philadelphia's highly regarded Ornstein and Royal Hamilton music schools, where he focused primarily on the piano. In 1951 he got his first important gig with Don Gardner s Sonotones and played local clubs for ...

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His mother sang in the church choir. Smith began playing piano when he was five and had his first band when he was twelve. Bud Powell and Art Tatum were his early piano idols.

A professional at fifteen Smith played with the Stan Kenton-inspired group of Kenny Hale. He moved to Cleveland when he was eighteen, performing with saxophonist Jimmy Hinsley, guitarist Willie Lewis, and the R&B baritone saxophonist Paul Williams.

In 1957 Smith started playing organ, inspired by Wild Bill Davis. He worked at first with drummer Chris Columbus and in 1958 performed regularly with Nancy Wilson. Recommended by tenor saxophonist Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Smith signed with the Prestige label in 1959 an association that lasted into the 1970s When he moved to New York in order to avoid being confused as organist Jimmy Smith or guitarist Johnny Smith he took a record producer s ...