- Margaret Jackson
(b Kenner, LA, Jan 19, 1925). American blues pianist. He studied piano in Alsen, Louisiana, his boyhood home, where he began playing in local blues clubs at age 16. Gray enlisted in the US army during World War II and entertained troops by playing and singing. Following the War he settled in Chicago in 1946. There he met his mentor, Big Maceo Merriwether, one of the city’s most prominent blues and barrelhouse piano players. During the 1950s and 1960s Gray worked as a session musician for Chess Records on recordings for Robert Lockwood Jr., B.B. King, Muddy Waters, “Little” Walter Jacobs, Sonny Boy Williamson, Jimmy Rogers, Otis Rush, and Koko Taylor, among others. In 1956, Gray joined Howlin’ Wolf’s band. The two performed together until the death of Gray’s father in 1968, which prompted the pianist’s return to Louisiana. There he remained an active performer at blues music festivals in New Orleans, San Francisco, Memphis, and Baton Rouge. In ...