Tag Archives | composer
Charles Albert Tindley

July 26th in African American History – Charles Albert Tindley

July 26, 1933 Charles Albert Tindley, gospel music composer and Methodist minister, died. Tindley was born July 7, 1851 in Berlin, Maryland. At birth, Tindley’s father was enslaved, but his mother was free, therefore he was considered free. Tindley was primarily self-educated, but he did attend night courses and took correspondence courses as the Boston […]

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Lonette McKee

July 22nd in African American History – Lonette McKee

July 22, 1954 Lonette McKee, singer, songwriter, composer, and actress, was born in Detroit, Michigan. McKee was a child prodigy, writing music, singing, and playing keyboards at the age of seven. At 15, McKee wrote the title song for the film “Quadroon.” McKee began her film career in the movie “Sparkle” (1976). Other films include […]

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John William Coltrane

July 17th in African American History – John William Coltrane

July 17, 1967 John William Coltrane, jazz saxophonist and composer, died. Coltrane was born September 23, 1926 in Hamlet, North Carolina. In 1945, he enlisted in the United States Navy and played in the Navy jazz band. After returning to civilian life, Coltrane began freelancing around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. From October, 1955 to April, 1957, Coltrane […]

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Bennett Lester “Benny” Carter

July 12th in African American History – Bennett Lester “Benny” Carter

July 12, 2003 Bennett Lester “Benny” Carter, jazz musician, composer, arranger and bandleader, died. Carter was born August 8, 1907 in New York City. Largely self-taught, by the age of 15 Carter was sitting in with some of New York’s top bands. In 1929, Carter formed this first big band and from 1931 to 1932 […]

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Mary Lou Williams

May 28th in African American History – Mary Lou Williams

May 28, 1981 Mary Lou Williams, jazz pianist, composer, and arranger, died. Born Mary Elfrieda Scruggs on May 8, 1910 in Atlanta, Georgia, Williams taught herself to play the piano at a young age and became a professional musician in her teens. In 1925, she played with Duke Ellington and his band the Washingtonians. In […]

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May 26th in African American History – Miles Dewey Davis III

May 26, 1926 Miles Dewey Davis III, jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer, was born in Alton, Illinois. By the age of 16, Davis was a member of the musical society and playing professionally. In 1944, he moved to New York City to study at the Juilliard School of Music. In 1945, he entered a recording […]

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Edward Kennedy Duke Ellington

May 24th in African American History – Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington

May 24, 1974 Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington, composer, pianist, and big band leader, died. Ellington was born April 29, 1899 in Washington, D. C. He began taking piano lessons at the age of 7 and at 14 wrote his first composition, “Soda Fountain Rag.” At the age of 18, he formed his first group, The […]

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