- Michael Cogswell
Lopez, Vincent (30 December 1895–20 September 1975), bandleader and jazz pianist, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Antonio Lopez, a music teacher, and Virginia Gonsalves. Lopez’s father, a former naval bandmaster who was a strict disciplinarian, made young Lopez practice the piano for three hours each day during the school year and for six hours per day during vacations. In spite of this attention to music, Lopez’s father planned for his son to enter the Roman Catholic priesthood, and so the youngster was enrolled at age twelve in St. Mary’s Passionist Monastery in Dunkirk, New York. After three years, Lopez left St. Mary’s against his father’s wishes and returned to Brooklyn, where he completed a nine-month course of study at Kissick’s Business College. Lopez then accepted a clerical job for a local milk company, and he also began to play piano in the evenings at Clayton’s, a Brooklyn saloon. By 1916 Lopez had left the milk company and was working full time as a professional pianist in various beer halls and restaurants in New York City....