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Harald Kisiedu

(b Chicago, IL, Sept 19, 1930). American pianist, composer, and administrator. After receiving private piano lessons, he studied at the Chicago Musical College and taught himself the system of composition devised by Joseph Schillinger. He began to work professionally in 1948 and performed regularly at the Cotton Club in Chicago during the 1950s, accompanying visiting musicians such as Dexter Gordon, Sonny Stitt, and Max Roach. After composing and arranging for the Walter “King” Fleming band in the mid-1950s, Abrams joined the hard bop ensemble MJT+3 and made his recording debut on the group’s album ...

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Paul D. Fischer

(b Chicago, IL, Dec 13, 1933). American record producer, songwriter, artist manager, label owner, and entrepreneur. He was most active in the popular-music industry from the 1950s to the 1970s. He held jobs in publishing and became co-manager of Jan and Dean with Herb Alpert. Under the pseudonym Barbara Campbell, the pair co-wrote “Only Sixteen” for Sam Cooke. Adler also co-wrote “Wonderful World” with Alpert and Cooke. In ...

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Jordan A. Yamaji Smith

(b Northport, Long Island, NY, June 5, 1976).

American hip-hop lyricist, vocalist, and producer. Aesop Rock began his career in alternative/underground hip-hop music with two self-financed albums that blended an eclectic approach to sample-based production with poetic, figurative lyrics. His creative output has helped to establish him as a prolific solo artist with a commitment to renovating the rap genre with politically-charged songs and experimental production techniques....

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Horace Clarence Boyer and Tammy L. Kernodle

(b Hamilton, MS, Jan 21, 1916; d Los Angeles, CA, July 8, 1996). American gospel singer, manager, and promoter. He moved to Los Angeles in the early 1940s to become a member of the Southern Gospel Singers, an all-male quartet. In 1946 he joined the Pilgrim Travelers, another male quartet, of which he soon became the guiding force. During its period of greatest popularity in the 1950s and 1960s the group became known for its close and smooth harmonies. Its members have included Kylo Turner and Keith Barber (leads), Jesse Whitaker (baritone), and Raphael Taylor (bass); jazz singer Lou Rawls also sang with the group in the late 1950s. Among their popular recordings were “Mother Bowed” (...

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Terence J. O’Grady and Bryan Proksch

(b Los Angeles, CA, March 31, 1935). American trumpeter, composer, bandleader, and record company executive. He studied trumpet as a child and left college to play in the army for a two-year period. After three years of producing records on his own, he launched A&M Records with Jerry Moss in ...

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Lori Burns and Jada Watson

(b Newton, NC, Aug 22, 1963). American alternative-rock singer-songwriter, pianist, and record producer. She emerged in the early 1990s amid a resurgence of female singer-songwriters and has been one of the few well known alternative-rock artists to use the piano as her primary instrument. She attended the preparatory division of the prestigious Peabody Conservatory but left the school at the age of 11. She began to play her own music in nightclubs at 14, chaperoned by her father, who was a preacher. After Amos moved to Los Angeles in her late teens to pursue a recording career, her band Y Kant Tori Read released a self-titled album (Atl., ...

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Roxanne R. Reed

(b Anguilla, MS, March 21, 1919; d Hazel Crest, IL, 15 June, 1995). American gospel director, singer, composer, and publisher. Anderson established a career forming and training gospel groups in Chicago. His formative years were spent as one of the original Roberta Martin Singers, one of the premiere gospel groups of the 1930s and 1940s. He left briefly, between ...

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Kevin E. Mooney

(b Port Arthur, TX, Oct 27, 1949; d Austin, TX, May 23, 2006). American nightclub owner, promoter, and producer. The son of Lebanese immigrants, he briefly attended the University of Texas at Austin (summer 1969), then opened an imported food and clothing store. Its backroom became a place for informal jam sessions, often with Antone playing bass. On ...

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David F. Garcia

(b Santiago de Cuba, March 2, 1917; d San Diego, CA, Dec 2, 1986).American entertainer, bandleader, and television producer of Cuban birth. Arnaz left Santiago for the United States when his father, the mayor, was exiled upon the fall of the Machado government in ...

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Jeff Place

(b Warsaw, Poland, Dec 2, 1905; d New York, NY, Oct 19, 1986). American record producer of Polish birth. He founded the label Asch in New York in 1939, initially to release local Jewish music. He soon expanded to jazz and American vernacular music releasing records by such musicians as Mary Lou Williams, James P. Johnson, Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, and Pete Seeger, who subsequently gained widespread acclaim. He then founded Disc (...