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Robert Mirandon

jazz pianist and composer, was born Don Gabriel Pullen in Roanoke, Virginia. His parents' names are unknown, but his father worked professionally as a singer, guitarist, and dancer. He attended public schools in Roanoke and as a youngster took up the piano. One likely guide in his studies was a cousin, Clyde “Fats” Wright, later cited by Pullen as a core influence. In addition to piano, Pullen became adept on the organ accompanying gospel singers at local church services. He soon was working with groups in-area nightclubs, mainly backing rhythm and blues vocalists.

While Pullen attended Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina, he first became interested in jazz through listening to recordings of the pianist Art Tatum During that period dramatic changes were occurring in jazz the music moving well beyond the overriding bebop postbop and soul styles of the postwar years Pullen immersed himself ...