• David Rose

    1910 - 1990

    David Rose (1910 - 1990)

    Recipient of four Emmy awards, David Rose was born in London, to Jewish parents, and raised in Chicago, Illinois. The family name was originally Rosenberg. Rose’s career in music began when he worked with Ted Fio Rito’s band when he was sixteen. Rose also worked as a standby pianist for NBC Radio. It was here, […]

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  • Les Baxter

    1922 - 1996

    Les Baxter (1922 - 1996)

    Les Baxter studied piano at the Detroit Conservatory before moving to Los Angeles for further studies at Pepperdine College. From 1943 on he was playing tenor and baritone saxophone for the Freddie Slack big band. Abandoning a concert career as a pianist, he turned to popular music as a singer. At the age of 23 […]

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  • Mercer Ellington

    1919 - 1996

    Mercer Ellington (1919 - 1996)

    Mercer Ellington was born in Washington, DC, the son of the composer, pianist, and bandleader Duke Ellington and Edna Thompson. By the age of eighteen he had written his first piece to be recorded by his father (“Pigeons and Peppers”). He attended New College for the Education of Teachers at Columbia University, New York University […]

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  • Al Hibbler

    1915 - 2001

    Al Hibbler (1915 - 2001)

    Al Hibbler was born in Tyro, Mississippi, United States, and was blind from birth. Some sources give his birth name as Andrew George Hibbler.[3] At the age of 12 he moved to Little Rock, Arkansas, where he attended Arkansas School for the Blind, joining the school choir. Later he began working as a blues singer […]

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  • Jimmy Blanton

    1918 - 1942

    Jimmy Blanton (1918 - 1942)

    Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Jimmy Blanton originally learned to play the violin, but took up the bass while at Tennessee State University, performing with the Tennessee State Collegians from 1936 to 1937, and during the vacations with Fate Marable. After leaving university to play full-time in St Louis with the Jeter-Pillars Orchestra (with whom he […]

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  • Harry Carney

    1910 - 1974

    Harry Carney (1910 - 1974)

    Harry Carney was the longest serving player in Duke Ellington’s orchestra. On occasions when Ellington was absent or wished to make a stage entrance after the band had begun playing the first piece of a performance, Carney would serve as the band’s conductor. Ellington and Carney were close friends. The majority of their careers they […]

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  • Otto Hardwick

    1904 - 1970

    Otto Hardwick (1904 - 1970)

    Otto Hardwick started on string bass at the age of 14, then moved to C melody saxophone and finally settled on alto saxophone. A childhood friend of Duke Ellington’s, Hardwick joined Ellington’s first band in Washington, D. C. in 1919. Hardwick also worked for banjoist Elmer Snowden at Murray’s Casino. In 1923, Ellington, Hardwick, Snowden, trumpeter […]

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  • Sonny Greer

    1895 - 1982

    Sonny Greer (1895 - 1982)

    Sonny Greer (December 13, 1895 – March 23, 1982) was an American jazz drummer and vocalist, best known for his work with Duke Ellington. Greer was born in Long Branch, New Jersey, and played with Elmer Snowden’s band and the Howard Theatre’s orchestra in Washington, D.C., before joining Duke Ellington, whom he met in 1919. He […]

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  • Barney Bigard

    1906 - 1980

    Barney Bigard (1906 - 1980)

    Barney Bigard was born in New Orleans to a family of Creoles. The son of Alexander and Emanuella Bigard, he had two brothers, Alexander Jr. and Sidney. His uncle, Emile Bigard, was a jazz violinist. He attended local schools and studied music and clarinet with Lorenzo Tio. In the early 1920s he moved to Chicago, where […]

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  • Lawrence Brown

    1907 - 1988

    Lawrence Brown (1907 - 1988)

    Lawrence Brown (August 3, 1907 – September 5, 1988) was an acclaimed jazz trombonist from California who achieved recognition with the Duke Ellington orchestra. Brown worked throughout his career as a session musician, as well as recording his own solo efforts. Lawrence Brown was born on August 3, 1907, in Lawrence, Kansas. When Brown was about […]

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  • Ray Nance

    1913 - 1976

    Ray Nance (1913 - 1976)

    Ray Nance was the leader of his own band in Chicago from 1932 to 1937. Then, he worked with Earl Hines from 1937 to 1939; and from 1939 to 1940 he worked with Horace Henderson. Ellington hired Nance to replace trumpeter Cootie Williams, who had joined Benny Goodman, in 1940. Nance’s first recorded performance with Ellington […]

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  • Rex Stewart

    1907 - 1967

    Rex Stewart (1907 - 1967)

    Rex William Stewart (February 22, 1907 – September 7, 1967) was an American jazz cornetist best remembered for his work with the Duke Ellington orchestra. After stints with Elmer Snowden, Fletcher Henderson, Horace Henderson, McKinney’s Cotton Pickers, and Luis Russell, Stewart joined the Ellington band in 1934, replacing Freddie Jenkins. Ellington arranged many of his pieces […]

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  • Cootie Williams

    1911 - 1985

    Cootie Williams (1911 - 1985)

    Born in Mobile, Alabama, United States, Cootie Williams began his professional career with the Young Family band, which included saxophonist Lester Young, when he was 14 years old. According to Williams he acquired his nickname as a boy when his father took him to a band concert. When it was over his father asked him […]

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  • Bubber Miley

    1903 - 1932

    Bubber Miley (1903 - 1932)

    Bubber Miley was born in Aiken, South Carolina, United States, into a musical family. At the age of six, he and his family moved to New York City where, as a child, he occasionally sang for money on the streets, and later, at the age of fourteen, studied to play the trombone and cornet. In 1920, […]

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  • Jimmy McHugh

    1894 - 1969

    Jimmy McHugh (1894 - 1969)

    Jimmy McHugh began his career in Boston, where he published about a dozen songs with local publishers. His first success was with the World War I song “Keep the Love-Light Burning in the Window Till the Boys Come Marching Home”, and this also came near the start of a decade-long collaboration with lyricist Jack Caddigan. […]

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  • Johnny Hodges

    1907 - 1970

    Johnny Hodges (1907 - 1970)

    Johnny Hodges joined Duke Ellington’s orchestra in November 1928. He was one of the prominent Ellington Band members who featured in Benny Goodman’s 1938 Carnegie Hall concert. Goodman described Hodges as “by far the greatest man on alto sax that I ever heard.” Charlie Parker called him “the Lily Pons of his instrument.” Ellington’s practice of […]

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  • Sippie Wallace

    1898 - 1986

    Sippie Wallace (1898 - 1986)

    Sippie Wallace followed her brothers to Chicago in 1923 and worked her way into the city’s bustling jazz scene. Her reputation led to a recording contract with Okeh Records in 1923. Her first recorded songs, “Shorty George” and “Up the Country Blues”, the former written with her brother George, sold well enough to make her […]

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  • Peetie Wheatstraw

    1902 - 1941

    Peetie Wheatstraw (1902 - 1941)

    William Bunch (December 21, 1902 – December 21, 1941), known as Peetie Wheatstraw, was an American musician, an influential figure among 1930s blues singers. The only known photograph of him shows him holding a National brand tricone resonator guitar, but he played the piano on most of his recordings. William Bunch was the son of James […]

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  • Bo Carter

    1893 - 1964

    Bo Carter (1893 - 1964)

    Armenter Chatmon (June 30, 1893 – September 21, 1964), known as Bo Carter, was an early American blues musician. He was a member of the Mississippi Sheiks in concerts and on a few of their recordings. He also managed that group, which included his brothers Lonnie Chatmon on fiddle and, occasionally, Sam Chatmon on bass […]

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  • Sam Chatmon

    1897 - 1983

    Sam Chatmon (1897 - 1983)

    Sam Chatmon (January 10, 1897 – February 2, 1983) was a Delta blues guitarist and singer. He was a member of the Mississippi Sheiks. He may have been Charlie Patton’s half-brother. Chatmon was born in Bolton, Mississippi. His family was well known in Mississippi for their musical talents; he was a member of the family’s string […]

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  • Harry Jerome

    1940 - 1982

    Harry Jerome (1940 - 1982)

    Harry Jerome competed at the university level for Bill Bowerman at the University of Oregon. He competed for Canada in the 1960, 1964, and 1968 Summer Olympics, winning 100 metre bronze in 1964. Such were the Olympics, Jerome wore his University of Oregon sweats (rather than the contemporary practice of an official national outfit for […]

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  • Lamar Lundy

    1935 - 2007

    Lamar Lundy (1935 - 2007)

    Lamar J. Lundy, Jr. (April 17, 1935 – February 24, 2007) was an American defensive end with the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League for 13 seasons, from 1957 to 1969. Along with Deacon Jones, Merlin Olsen, and Rosey Grier, Lundy was a member of the Fearsome Foursome, often considered one of the […]

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  • Ed Friendly

    1922 - 2007

    Ed Friendly (1922 - 2007)

    Edwin “Ed” S. Friendly Jr. (April 8, 1922 – June 17, 2007) was an American television producer. He was responsible for creating several successful television programs including Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, Little House on the Prairie, and Backstairs at the White House. Ed Friendly served with the United States Army in the Pacific Theater of Operations […]

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  • Chelsea Brown

    1942 - 2017

    Chelsea Brown (1942 - 2017)

    Chelsea Brown (December 6, 1942 – March 27, 2017) was an American born actress of television and film, comedienne and dancer, who appeared as a regular performer in comedy series Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. She had a successful career in her native land before emigrating to Australia, where she became well-known mostly for her roles […]

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  • Hugo Friedhofer

    1901 - 1981

    Hugo Friedhofer (1901 - 1981)

    Hugo Wilhelm Friedhofer (May 3, 1901 – May 17, 1981) was an American composer best known for his motion picture scores. He was born in San Francisco. His father was a cellist trained in Dresden, Germany; his mother, Eva König, was born in Germany. Hugo Friedhofer began playing cello at the age of 13. After taking lessons […]

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  • Paul Smith

    1906 - 1985

    Paul Smith (1906 - 1985)

    Paul J. Smith (October 30, 1906 – January 25, 1985) was an American music composer. Paul Smith was born in Calumet, Michigan on October 30, 1906. Upon graduating high school, he studied music at The College of Idaho from 1923 to 1925 before he was accepted into the Bush Conservatory of Music in Chicago, Illinois. His […]

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  • Ken Darby

    1909 - 1992

    Ken Darby (1909 - 1992)

    Kenneth Lorin Darby was born in Hebron, Nebraska, on May 13, 1909, to Lorin Edward Darby and Clara Alice Powell. Darby was married to Vera Matson from 1932 to 1992. Ken Darby’s choral group, The Ken Darby Singers, sang backup for Bing Crosby on the original 1942 Decca Records studio recording of “White Christmas.” In […]

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  • Ray Heindorf

    1908 - 1980

    Ray Heindorf (1908 - 1980)

    Born in Haverstraw, New York, Ray Heindorf worked as a pianist in a movie house in Mechanicville in his early teens. In 1928, he moved to New York City, where he worked as a musical arranger before heading to Hollywood. He gained his first job as an orchestrator at MGM, where he worked on Hollywood […]

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  • Franz Waxman

    1906 - 1967

    Franz Waxman (1906 - 1967)

    In Hollywood, Franz Waxman met James Whale, who had been highly impressed by Waxman’s score for Liliom. The success of his score for Whale’s Bride of Frankenstein (1935) led to the young composer’s appointment as Head of Music at Universal Studios. Waxman, however, was more interested in composition than musical direction for film, and in […]

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  • Francis Sumner

    1895 - 1954

    Francis Sumner (1895 - 1954)

    Francis Sumner’s area of focus was in investigating how to refute racism and bias in the theories used to conclude the inferiority of African Americans. Sumner’s work is thought to be a response to the Eurocentric methods of psychology. Upon his graduation Sumner accepted a professor position at Wilberforce University in the fall of 1920. […]

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