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Susan Richardson-Sanabria

musician, composer, educator, priest, and artist, was born James Hawthorne in Yamassee, South Carolina, to Mary Hugee and Roland Hawthorne. When he was still a boy he and his family moved to New Jersey, then to New York City—first to Brooklyn and later to Harlem. In Brooklyn James and his parents lived with his grandparents, and his grandfather encouraged him to join the church choir.

His musical talents became more evident after his move to Harlem, when he began to study dance and percussion with Isame Andrews, a specialist in African music and dance and a student of Asadata Dafora. Attracting notice with his vocal skills, Hawthorne was admitted to both the Eva Jessye and the Francis Hall Johnson choirs In the mid to late 1930s he studied African drum making and performance especially the ashiko drum with Moses Miannes Mianns a Nigerian who had come to ...


Scott Yanow

jazz drummer, was born in Queens, New York. His parents’ names are not recorded. Graves played congas as a child. As a teenager he was featured on timbales in a Latin band from 1959 to 1961. After seeing Elvin Jones play with John Coltrane, Graves taught himself how to play drums. In his twenties he studied Indian music extensively, learning the tabla from Wasantha Singh. He worked with Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba in the early 1960s.

Starting in 1964, Graves was an important contributor to the avant-garde jazz scene in New York. One of the earliest free-form drummers, Graves came to the jazz world's attention when he was featured at the historic October Revolution concerts in late 1964 with saxophonist Giuseppi Logan and the New York Art Quartet He showed that it was possible to swing while playing very freely and he helped liberate ...


Jim Miller

jazz drummer, was born William W. Hart in Washington, D.C., to William Alfred Hart and Ira Loretta Hart, both government workers who had met at Howard University. Primarily a self-taught musician, Hart played in rhythm and blues groups while still in high school. As the house-band drummer at Washington's Howard Theatre, he accompanied major soul acts such as Otis Redding, Joe Tex, the Impressions, the Isley Brothers, Sam and Dave, and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles when they toured through town.

Although such established names as the above are accepted as classic coequal entertainers societal conditions in the late 1950s restricted black artists from performing at the top venues in Las Vegas Miami Beach or even at Radio City Music Hall in New York However there was a circuit of older theaters in the bigger cities where blacks could appear before large audiences the legendary ...


Barry Kernfeld

jazz and soul music drummer, was born Frederick Douglas Waits in Jackson, Mississippi, the son of Lillie B. Weathers. His father's name is unknown. Waits played drums as a child and studied flute and drums at Lanier High School. At age sixteen, in the summer before his senior year, he toured with the Upsetters, accompanying the rhythm and blues musician Little Willie John. In this setting he first performed in New York City at Smalls' Paradise.

At Jackson State College, Waits majored in music, with flute as his primary instrument. While in college he played in bands that accompanied the rhythm and blues musicians Percy Mayfield, Ivory Joe Hunter, and Sam Cooke on tour, and Sonny Boy Williamson, John Lee Hooker, and Memphis Slim in their visits to Jackson. From about 1962 to 1963 traveling back and forth between Jackson and Detroit ...