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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 ...


T. Dennis Brown

jazz drummer, was born Joseph Rudolph Jones in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Amelia J. Abbott, a piano teacher and church organist. His father, whose name is unknown, died shortly after he was born. During his early childhood Joseph was featured as a tap dancer on a local Philadelphia radio program, The Kiddie Show. Interestingly, several other important jazz drummers, including Jo Jones and Buddy Rich, were also tap dancers. Joseph's sisters studied violin and piano, and his first organized musical experience began in grade school, where he played drums. In 1941 he left high school and enlisted in the U.S. Army, where he served as a military policeman until his release in 1943. His wife's name was Eloise (maiden name and marriage date unknown), and they had one child.

After being discharged from the army Jones played in local Philadelphia bands before moving in ...


Caryn E. Neumann

jazz drummer and bandleader, was born in Cynthia, Kentucky. As a teenager, he began playing drums. McKinney later served in the U.S. Army during World War I and picked up the drumsticks again after being demobilized in 1919. He toured with the Sells-Floto Circus Band, but then settled in Springfield, Ohio, where he found work with O'Neill's Orchestra led by the saxophonist Don O'Neill.

Springfield in the 1920s was a thriving city of fifty thousand people and only a few bands. Sensing a good opportunity, McKinney joined the pianist Todd Rhodes and the saxophonist/clarinetist Milton Senior in forming the Synco Trio in about 1921. Senior served as the musical director, responsible for rehearsals. When another musician joined, it became the Synco Quartet, then the Synco Quintet, and, eventually, the Synco Jazz Band. By 1924 the band was known as both McKinney s Synco and the ...


Dan Shope

drummer, grew up next to the French Quarter in the predominantly African American Treme District in New Orleans. Palmer's mother, Thelma, was a dancer, who at one point became a member of a traveling vaudeville show called Ida Cox's “Darktown Scoundrels.” Palmer never knew his father. As a child, he was told that his father was once a cook on a whaling ship that sailed out of Newfoundland when he was killed in an accident. Palmer grew up learning to tap, while also learning to play the drums. He felt his tap dancing background was advantageous in developing his drumming style.

In 1943 Palmer joined the racially segregated U S Army He attained the rank of staff sergeant in the 642nd Ordnance Ammunition Company but he was later reduced in rank for arming himself and other African American infantrymen with live ammunition Palmer was then shipped ...