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Harris, Bill (28 October 1916–21 August 1973), trombonist, guitarist, and composer, was born Willard Palmer Harris in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Willard Massey Harris, an attorney for the U.S. Marine Corps, and Mabel Palmer Harris. Bill's older half brother Robert was a professional bassist who performed with the Ted Weems Orchestra....


Johnson, Francis (16 June 1792–06 April 1844), musician, bandleader, and composer, also known as Frank Johnson, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Little is known of his youth and parentage. Most sources cite Martinique as his birthplace, but Stephen Charpié's (1999) work with baptismal records establishes his birth date, birthplace, and status as a free African American. Though skilled at a number of instruments, Johnson seems to have first attained local prominence as a fiddler at dances, parties, and the like; there is some evidence that he played with Matthew “Matt” Black's band in the late 1810s. Johnson also seems to have received some limited instruction during this period from Richard Willis, an Irish immigrant who later directed the West Point military band and who introduced the keyed bugle (also known as a Kent bugle) to the United States....


Francis Johnson. Courtesy of the Rare Book & Manuscript Library, University of Pennsylvania.