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Hughes, Revella Eudosia (02 July 1895–24 October 1987), musician, singer, and educator, was born in Huntington, West Virginia, the daughter of George W. Hughes, a postman, and Annie B. (maiden name unknown), a piano teacher and seamstress. At age five Hughes began studying piano with her mother and, at eight or nine, violin with a musician friend of her father’s. She attended Huntington’s segregated public schools. Disturbed when Hughes was racially harassed, her parents sent her to Hartshorn Memorial College (later part of Virginia Union University) in Richmond, which she attended from 1909 to 1911, graduating with a degree in music and elementary studies. She attended Oberlin High and Conservatory, graduating in 1915. In 1917 she earned a bachelor of music in piano from Howard’s Conservatory of Music, where she studied piano with LeRoy Tibbs and voice with conservatory director ...

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Lewis, John (03 May 1920–29 March 2001), pianist, composer, and educator, was born John Aaron Lewis in La Grange, Illinois. His parents' names do not appear in readily available sources of information; reportedly, his father was an interior decorator (or, according to some sources, an optometrist), his mother a classically trained singer. After the death of his father, Lewis moved with his mother to Albuquerque, New Mexico, as a young child. By the time he was four, his mother had also passed away. Being raised mostly by relatives in a large musical family, Lewis at the age of seven began studying piano with his aunt. As a teenager he performed locally with his cousins and several older musicians. In 1938 he enrolled at the University of New Mexico, where he first majored in anthropology, then switched to music....

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Mehegan, John Francis (06 June 1920?–03 April 1984), jazz educator, writer, and pianist, was born in Hartford, Connecticut, the son of John James Mehegan, a blacksmith, and Margaret Egan. The New York Times obituary gives his birth year as 1916, but Mehegan himself gave 1920 in interviews and standard reference sources....

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Slam Stewart © William P. Gottlieb; used by permission. William P. Gottlieb Collection, Library of Congress (LC-GLB23-0818 DLC).

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Stewart, Slam (21 September 1914–10 December 1987), jazz string bassist, bandleader, and educator, was born in Englewood, New Jersey. Nothing is known of his parents or his real name. He was raised as Leroy Elliott Stewart, but he said, without offering details, that a different name is on his birth certificate. His adopted father was a caretaker and gardener. Stewart started on violin at age six or seven and switched to string bass while in high school in Englewood....

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Terry, Clark (14 Dec. 1920–21 Feb. 2015), jazz trumpeter, singer, and educator, was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Clark Virgil Terry, Sr., a laborer, and Mary Scott. He rarely saw his mother, who died around 1927, and was raised mainly by his oldest sister, Ada Mae Terry....

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Lennie Tristano © William P. Gottlieb; used by permission. William P. Gottlieb Collection, Library of Congress (LC-GLB13-0871 DLC).

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Tristano, Lennie (19 March 1919–18 November 1978), jazz pianist and teacher, was born Leonard Joseph Tristano in Chicago, the son of Michael Tristano, a pharmacist, and Rose Milano. His parents were first cousins and both were musical: his mother played piano and harmonium and had studied voice as a girl in hopes of an operatic career. His father played the guitar and sang popular songs....