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Liston, Melba Doretta (13 January 1926–23 April 1999), trombonist, bandleader, arranger, and composer, was born in Kansas City, Missouri, the only child of Lucille Clark, an office worker, and Frank Liston, a laborer. Melba was raised in both her birthplace and Kansas City, Kansas, where her grandparents lived. She recounted a lonely childhood made less lonely by the music in her life. Melba’s early years coincided with Kansas City’s blues and jazz boom and the emergence of musical greats like ...


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Maxine Sullivan © William P. Gottlieb; used by permission. William P. Gottlieb Collection, Library of Congress (LC-GLB23-0826 DLC).


Sullivan, Maxine (13 May 1911–07 April 1987), singer and instrumentalist, was born Marietta Williams in Homestead, Pennsylvania. No information is available about the singer’s parents, but she once indicated in an interview that her uncle, Harry Williams, a band leader, influenced her musical career. Little is known about her family life or early education....