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Eric Bennett

Nat “King” Cole was born Nathaniel Adams Cole in Montgomery, Alabama. With a father who was a preacher and musical brothers, Cole grew up amid performance and music. As a child he lived in Chicago, Illinois, playing the organ in his father's church and performing in his brother Eddie's ensemble, the Solid Swingers. Cole began his career as a pianist in 1936 when he joined James Herbert (“Eubie”) Blake's traveling revue Shuffle Along.

In 1937 Cole settled in Los Angeles, California, and formed a trio with guitarist Oscar Moore and bassist Wesley Prince. In the early recordings of the combo, Cole displayed harmonic and melodic innovation that only his finest contemporaries—Art Tatum and Edward Kennedy (“Duke”) Ellington could rival Despite the extraordinary talents of both Moore and Cole the combo met with limited success due largely to the era s nearly exclusive ...


Ronald P. Dufour

Cole, Nat King (17 March 1919–15 February 1965), pianist and singer, was born Nathaniel Adams Coles in Montgomery, Alabama, the son of the Reverend Edward James Coles, Sr., and Perlina Adams, a musician. Cole’s family moved to Chicago when he was four. He first studied piano with his mother, then with bassist Milt Hinton’s mother, and at the age of twelve, classical piano with a Professor Thomas. The family home was located near the Grand Terrace Ballroom, where Cole often heard his first and most important influence, pianist Earl Hines. In high school Cole played a variety of instruments in a band that included future jazz stars Hinton, Lionel Hampton, and Ray Nance His father eventually agreed to allow the teenager to play jazz on weeknights if he continued to play organ for Sunday services At about the age of sixteen Cole organized a ...


Ian Brookes

pianist and singer, was born Nathaniel Adams Coles in Montgomery, Alabama, the son of the Reverend Edward James Coles Sr., a Baptist minister, and Perlina Adams Coles, choir leader and organist at her husband's church. The family, which included Nat's brother, Edward Jr. (“Eddie”) and sisters, Eddie Mae and Evelyn, moved to Chicago when Nat was about four years old, where his brothers Isaac (“Ike”) and Lionel (“Freddie”) were born. All the Coles children demonstrated musical talent, each playing piano and organ at their father's services and singing in the church choir. Nat was especially precocious, capable at the age of four of a two-handed rendition of “Yes, We Have No Bananas” on the family piano. From the age of twelve he received formal piano training.

Nat grew up on Chicago s South Side the heartland of Prohibition jazz culture and attended Wendell Phillips High School Grounded ...


Iain Anderson

singer and pianist. An influential jazz pianist, Nat King Cole transformed himself into a popular balladeer and one of the most successful entertainers of the 1950s and early 1960s. Although he was criticized for his supposed commercialism and accommodation of segregation, Cole's appeal endured until his death from lung cancer in 1965.

Born in Montgomery, Alabama, at age four Nathaniel Adams Coles moved to Chicago with his parents, part of the Great Migration of southern African Americans seeking a better life in northern cities. His father, Edward James Coles, ministered to a Baptist congregation, and his mother, Perlina Coles directed the church choir and encouraged her six children to study and perform music Cole he adopted his stage name in the late 1930s sang and played organ in his father s church from age twelve and played piano for several bands in Chicago during and after ...


Lois Bellamy

pianist, impresario, opera director, producer, television host, and educator, was born in Harlem, New York, to Walter Jones, born 1910, and Lucille Fairs, born 1908, a housewife from Wilmington, North Carolina. His father worked at the Capitol Theatre, which premiered the film version of Gone with the Wind.R. Wellington Jones had a sister, Jean Jones, now deceased. His maternal grandmother, Sukie Fairs, was a slave as a child and lived 106 years. His paternal grandfather was killed by the Ku Klux Klan in Scotland Neck, North Carolina, in the early 1920s. His great grandparents were slaves and part of the Cherokee Nation.

Wellington Jones graduated from New York's famed High School of Music and Art in 1958, and earned both his bachelor's degree (1962) and master of arts degree (1964 in Music ...


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 ...