March 8, 2009 Willie King, blues guitarist, composer and singer, died. King was born March 18, 1943 in Prairie Point, Mississippi. Prior to recording, he worked at many occupations. King later became active with the Civil Rights Movement, which inspired him to write socially-conscious blues songs. He described his music as struggling blues because of [...]
February 17, 1982 Thelonious Monk, jazz pianist and composer, died. Monk was born October 10, 1917 in Rocky Mountain, North Carolina and began playing the piano at the age of six. In the early to mid-1940s, he served as the house pianist at Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem, New York which featured most of the leading [...]
February 12, 1983 James Herbert “Eubie” Blake, composer, lyricist and pianist, died. Blake was born February 7, 1887 in Baltimore, Maryland. He began taking music lessons at the age of 7 and at 15 was playing piano in a bordello. In 1912, he began playing in vaudeville and shortly after World War I joined forces [...]
November 24, 2009 Hale Smith, composer, pianist, arranger and educator, died. Smith was born June 29, 1925 in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree and a Master of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music in 1950 and 1952, respectively.
October 28, 1975 Oliver Edward Nelson, jazz musician, arranger, and composer, died. Nelson was born June 4, 1932 in St. Louis, Missouri. He learned to play the piano when he was six and started to play the saxophone when he was eleven. After military service in the Marines, Nelson studied music composition and theory at [...]
October 10, 1917 Thelonious Sphere Monk, Jr., jazz pianist and composer, was born in Rocky Mountain, North Carolina. Monk started playing the piano at age six and although he had some formal training, he was essentially self-taught. In the early to mid-1940s, Monk served as the house pianist at Minton’s Playhouse which featured most of [...]
October 4, 1942 Bernice Johnson Reagon, singer, composer, scholar and social activist, was born in southwest Georgia. Reagon was an active participant in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s as a member of the Freedom Singers, organized by the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). She is a specialist in African American oral history, performance, [...]