1-12 of 12 results  for:

  • ragtime performer x
Clear all

Article

Blake, Eubie (07 February 1883–12 February 1983), composer and pianist, was born James Hubert Blake in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of John Sumner Blake, a stevedore, and Emily Johnston, a launderer. His father was a Civil War veteran, and both parents were former slaves. While the young Blake was a mediocre student during several years of public schooling, he showed early signs of musical interest and talent, picking out tunes on an organ in a department store at about age six. As a result, his parents rented an organ for twenty-five cents a week, and he soon began basic keyboard lessons with Margaret Marshall, a neighbor and church organist. At about age twelve he learned cornet and buck dancing and was earning pocket change singing with friends on the street. When he was thirteen he received encouragement from ragtime pianist Jesse Pickett, whom he had watched through the window of a bawdy house in order to learn his fingering. By 1898 he had steady work as a piano player in Aggie Shelton’s sporting house, a job that necessitated the lad’s sneaking out of his home after his parents went to bed. The objections of his deeply religious mother when she learned of his new career were only overcome by the pragmatism of his sporadically employed father, once he discovered how much his son was making in tips....

Article

Cobb, George Linus (31 August 1886–26 December 1942), composer, was born in Mexico, New York, the son of Linus Cobb and Jeanette Maine. Virtually nothing is known about his parents or about his younger years, except that Cobb attended Syracuse University, where he studied music. After college he lived in Buffalo, New York, for several years before moving to New York City. The length of time he stayed in New York City and his activities there also are unknown....

Article

Confrey, Zez (03 April 1895–22 November 1971), composer and pianist, was born Edward Elzear Confrey in Peru, Illinois, the son of Thomas J. Confrey, railroad engineer, and Margaret Brown. At age four he began piano lessons after demonstrating the ability to pick out a tune played by an older brother. He conducted and performed with his own orchestra while still in high school; he later graduated from Chicago Musical College where he studied piano and composition. His exposure there to the impressionistic styles of Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel would influence some of his later pieces. While studying at the college he worked as a drummer in a theater orchestra, and about 1915 he played piano in a touring orchestra he formed with his brother Jim....

Article

Hayden, Scott (31 March 1882–16 September 1915), ragtime pianist and composer, was born in Sedalia, Missouri, the son of Marion Hayden and Julia (maiden name unknown). Born in the birthplace of famed ragtime pianist Scott Joplin, Hayden began composing ragtime works as a student at Lincoln High School, influenced by a schoolmate, ...

Article

Joplin, Scott (1867 or 1868–01 April 1917), composer, was born between July 1867 and April 1868 in East Texas, probably near Marshall, the son of Jiles Joplin, formerly a slave and then a laborer, and Florence Givens, a free-born African-American woman and a domestic. The frequently cited birthdate of 24 November 1868 for Joplin is incorrect....

Article

Jordan, Joe (11 February 1882–11 September 1971), composer, conductor, jazz and ragtime pianist, and bandleader, was born Joseph Jordan in Cincinnati, Ohio. His father owned a pool hall; his parents' names are unknown. He was raised in Cincinnati and was educated at Lincoln Institute in Jefferson City, Missouri. By 1900 he was playing piano in cafes in St. Louis, where he also played violin and drums in the Taborian Band....

Article

Lamb, Joseph Francis (06 December 1887–03 September 1960), piano ragtime composer, was born in Montclair, New Jersey, the son of James Lamb, a building contractor, and Julia Henneberry. Early ragtime journalists assumed he was an African American from Missouri, like Scott Joplin and ...

Article

Marshall, Arthur (20 November 1881–18 August 1968), ragtime composer and pianist, was born in Saline County, Missouri, to African-American parents, about whom very little is known. The Marshall family had relocated to Sedalia, Missouri, by the time Arthur was in grade school, where he befriended another budding musician, ...

Article

Matthews, Artie (15 November 1888–25 October 1958), musician and educator, was born in Braidwood, Illinois. His parents’ names are unknown. He spent his childhood in Springfield, Illinois, where his family moved when he was a young child. Matthews expressed an early interest in music, and historical accounts credit his mother as his first piano teacher, although he later took lessons from local teachers. A trip to St. Louis, Missouri, in 1904 exposed Matthews to the major African-American performers of ragtime, the dominant popular music of the time. Upon returning to Springfield, Matthews learned ragtime from local performers....

Article

Robinson, J. Russel (08 July 1892–30 September 1963), ragtime, jazz, and popular pianist and composer, was born Joseph Russel Robinson in Indianapolis, Indiana, the son of Mark L. Robinson, a factory worker and later a hotel engineer, and Elizabeth Eleanor Hoover. His father played jew’s harp and harmonica, and his mother, piano. In infancy Robinson contracted polio, which permanently crippled his right arm. As a consequence of this disability he later developed an acrobatic left-hand technique on piano, but like hunchback drummer ...

Article

Scott, James (12 February 1885–30 August 1938), pianist, entertainer, and ragtime composer, was born James Sylvester Scott in Neosho, Newton County, Missouri, the son of James Scott and Molly Thomas, who had migrated to Missouri at the time of the Kansas exodus of African Americans from North Carolina between 1879 and 1881. Scott spent the greater part of his youth in the southwestern corner of Missouri, getting thirty formal lessons on the piano and musical notation from a local pianist, John Coleman, and from an unnamed Joplin physician. As his family was not rich, Scott taught himself much of what he needed to know on pianos in neighbors’ homes, in public buildings, and in local music stores. In 1902 he moved to Carthage, Missouri, a community that thought of itself as the seat of culture, education, and refinement in Jasper County and the southwest....

Article

Turpin, Tom (1873–13 August 1922), ragtime pianist, composer, and bar owner, was born Thomas Milton J. Turpin in Savannah, Georgia, the son of John L. “Jack” Turpin, a bar owner and amateur wrestler, and Lulu Waters. The Turpin family was prominent in Savannah’s African-American community, but by 1880 they had relocated to St. Louis, Missouri, where John Turpin opened the Silver Dollar Saloon. Young Tom began playing piano from an early age and was employed at one of the best known of the city’s bars, the Castle Club, by the early 1890s. By 1893 he had opened his own saloon, which eventually became known as the Rosebud Bar, with Turpin grandly proclaiming himself “President of the Rosebud Club.” The bar became a meeting place for local pianists, including Louis Chauvin....