Ike Wister Turner (November 5, 1931 – December 12, 2007) was an American musician, bandleader, talent scout, and record producer. Considered to be one of the fathers of rock and roll, his first recording, "Rocket 88" by "Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats," in 1951, is considered by some to be the "first rock and roll song" ever. However, he is best known for his work with his ex-wife Tina Turner as one half of the Ike & Tina Turner revue.
William Christopher Handy (November 16, 1873 – March 28, 1958) was a blues composer and musician, often known as the "Father of the Blues". Handy remains among the most influential of American songwriters. Though he was one of many musicians who played the distinctively American form of music known as the blues, he is credited with giving it its contemporary form.
Ray Charles (September 23, 1930 – June 10, 2004) was an American musician. Charles was a pioneer in the genre of soul music during the 1950s by fusing rhythm & blues, gospel, and blues styles into his early recordings for Atlantic Records. He also helped racially integrate country and pop music during the 1960s with his crossover success on ABC Records, most notably with his Modern Sounds albums.
Hadda Brooks (October 29, 1916 – November 21, 2002), was a noted American pianist, vocalist and composer. Her first single, "Swingin' the Boogie", which she composed, was issued in 1945. She was billed as "Queen of the Boogie. " Highlights of her life included singing at Hawaii's official statehood ceremony in 1959 and being asked for a private audience with Pope Pius XII.
Professor Longhair (December 19, 1918 - January 30, 1980) (born Henry Roeland Byrd, also known as Roy "Bald Head" Byrd and as Fess) was a New Orleans blues singer and pianist. Professor Longhair is noteworthy for having been active in two distinct periods, both in the heyday of early rhythm and blues, and in the resurgence of interest in traditional jazz after the founding of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
Charles Brown (September 13, 1922 – January 21, 1999), born in Texas City, Texas was an American blues singer and pianist whose soft-toned, slow-paced blues-club style influenced the development of blues performance during the 1940s and 1950s. He had several hit recordings, including "Driftin' Blues" and "Merry Christmas Baby". In the late 1940s a rising demand for blues was driven by an increasing white teenage audience in the South which quickly spread north and west.
Eurreal Wilford "Little Brother" Montgomery (April 18, 1906 – September 6, 1985) was a jazz and blues pianist and singer. Largely self-taught, Montgomery is often thought of as just a blues pianist, but he was an important blues pianist with an original style. He was also quite versatile, however, and worked in jazz bands including larger ensembles that used written arrangements.
Thomas Andrew Dorsey (July 1, 1899, Villa Rica, Georgia - January 23, 1993, Chicago). He is known as "the father of black gospel music" and was at one time so closely associated with the field that songs written in the new style were sometimes known as "dorseys. " Earlier in his life he was a leading blues pianist known as Georgia Tom. As formulated by Dorsey, gospel music combines Christian praise with the rhythms of jazz and the blues.
William Thomas Dupree, best known as Champion Jack Dupree, was an American blues pianist. His birth date is disputed, given as July 4, July 10, and July 23, in the years 1908, 1909, or 1910. He died on January 21, 1992.
Memphis Slim (September 3, 1915 – February 24, 1988) was an American blues pianist, singer, and composer. He led a series of bands that, reflecting the popular appeal of jump blues, included saxophones, bass, drums, and piano. A song he first cut in 1947, "Every Day I Have the Blues," has become a blues standard, recorded by many other artists. Slim made over 500 recordings.
Shuggie Otis (born Johnny Alexander Veliotes on November 30, 1953) is an American R&B, soul, rock, blues, and funk singer-songwriter, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist. His composition "Strawberry Letter 23", covered by The Brothers Johnson, topped the Billboard R&B chart and reached the top five of the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1977. His 1975 single "Inspiration Information" reached number fifty-six on the R&B chart.
Jay McShann (January 12, 1916 – December 7, 2006) was an American Grammy Award-nominated blues, mainstream jazz, and swing bandleader, pianist and singer. During the 1940s, McShann was at the forefront of blues and hard bop jazz musicians mainly from Kansas City. He assembled his own big band, with musicians that included some of the most influential artists of their time, including Charlie Parker, Bernard Anderson, Ben Webster and Walter Brown.
Albert Ammons (September 23, 1907 — December 2, 1949) was an American pianist. Ammons was a player of boogie-woogie, a bluesy jazz style that swept the United States from the late 1930s into the mid 1940s.
Clarence Smith, better known as Pinetop Smith or Pine Top Smith (11 June 1904 - 15 March 1929) was an influential American boogie-woogie style blues pianist. He is a 1991 inductee of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame.
Malcolm John "Mac" Rebennack, Jr. (born November 21, 1940), better known by the stage name Dr. John (also Dr. John Creaux), is an American singer/songwriter, pianist and guitarist whose music combines blues, pop, jazz as well as Zydeco, boogie woogie and rock and roll.
Marcia Ball is an American blues singer and pianist, born in Orange, Texas but who grew up in Vinton, Louisiana. She was described in USA Today as "a sensation, saucy singer and superb pianist... where Texas stomp-rock and Louisiana blues-swamp meet. " The Boston Globe described her music as "as irresistible celebratory blend of rollicking, two-fisted New Orleans piano, Louisiana swamp-rock and smoldering Texas blues from a contemporary storyteller."