February 26, 1990 Cornelius E. Gunter, rhythm and blues singer, died. Gunter was born November 14, 1936 in Coffeyville, Kansas. He began recording in 1953 singing backup on Big Jay McNeelly’s “Nervous Man Nervous.” In 1957, he sang the title song for the movie “The Green Eyed Blonde.” From 1958 to 1961, Gunter performed as […]
February 19, 1972 Edward Lee Morgan, jazz trumpeter, was murdered. Morgan was born July 10, 1938 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Morgan received his first trumpet at the age of 13 and at 18 joined Dizzy Gillespie’s big band where he was a member for 18 months.
February 4, 2001 James Louis “J. J.” Johnson, jazz trombonist, composer and arranger, died. Johnson was born January 22, 1924 in Indianapolis, Indiana. At the age of nine, he started studying the piano, but decided to play the trombone at the age of 14. In 1941, Johnson started his professional career.
March 18, 1941 Wilson Pickett, R&B singer and songwriter, was born in Prattville, Alabama. In 1955, Pickett moved to Detroit, Michigan where he joined a gospel group and developed his forceful, passionate style of singing.
March 15, 1912 Sam John “Lightnin” Hopkins, country blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter, was born in Centreville, Texas. Hopkins developed a deep appreciation of the blues at the age of eight, but did not make his first recording until 1946.
March 14, 1933 Quincy Delight Jones, Jr., trumpeter, music conductor and arranger, record producer, and film composer, was born in Chicago, Illinois. In 1951, Jones won a scholarship to the Berklee College of Music, but abandoned his studies when he received an offer to play in the band of Lionel Hampton.
March 9, 1930 Ornette Coleman, jazz saxophonist, trumpeter and composer, was born in Fort Worth, Texas. Coleman began touring with rhythm and blues shows in 1949 and in 1958 led his first recording session, “Something Else!!!!: The Music of Ornette Coleman.”
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- June 10th in African American History – Ray Charles
- May 18th in African American History – Mary Jane McLeod Bethune
- August 12th in African American History – Jean-Michel Basquiat
- March 13th in African American History – James Theodore Holly
- November 27th in African American History – Walter Fenner “Buck” Leonard