"Blind" Lemon Jefferson (September 24, 1893 – at some point in Mid-December, 1929) was a blues singer and guitarist from Texas. He was one of the most popular blues singers of the 1920s, and has been titled "Father of the Texas Blues". Jefferson's singing and self-accompaniment were distinctive as a result of his high-pitched voice and originality on the guitar.
Louis Daniel Armstrong (August 4, 1901 – July 6, 1971) nicknamed Satchmo or Pops, was an American jazz trumpeter and singer from New Orleans, Louisiana. Coming to prominence in the 1920s as an "inventive" cornet and trumpet player, Armstrong was a foundational influence on jazz, shifting the music's focus from collective improvisation to solo performers.
Leon Bismark "Bix" Beiderbecke (March 10, 1903 – August 6, 1931) was an American jazz cornetist, jazz pianist, and composer. With Louis Armstrong, Beiderbecke was one of the two most influential jazz soloists of the 1920s. His turns on "Singin' the Blues" (1927) and "I'm Coming, Virginia" (1927), in particular, demonstrated an unusual purity of tone and a gift for improvisation. They helped to invent the jazz ballad style and hinted at what, in the 1950s, would become cool jazz.
Joe "King" Oliver (December 19, 1885 – April 10, 1938) was a jazz cornet player and bandleader. He was particularly noted for his playing style, pioneering the use of mutes. Also a notable composer, he wrote many tunes still played regularly, including "Dippermouth Blues", "Sweet Like This", "Canal Street Blues", and "Doctor Jazz". He was the mentor and teacher of Louis Armstrong.
Hattie McDaniel (June 10, 1895 - October 26, 1952) was an American actress and the first African American to win an Academy Award of any kind. She won the award for Best Supporting Actress for her role of Mammy in Gone with the Wind. McDaniel was also a professional singer-songwriter, comedienne, stage actress, radio performer, and television star. Hattie McDaniel was in fact the first black woman to sing on the radio in America.
Sidney Bechet (May 14, 1897 – May 14, 1959) was an American jazz saxophonist, clarinetist, and composer. He was one of the first important soloists in jazz (beating cornetist and trumpeter Louis Armstrong to the recording studio by several months and later playing duets with Armstrong), and was perhaps the first notable jazz saxophonist. Forceful delivery, well-constructed improvisations, and a distinctive, wide vibrato characterized Bechet's playing.
Richard Wayne Penniman (born December 5, 1932) known by the stage name Little Richard, is an American singer, songwriter, pianist and recording artist, considered key in the transition from rhythm and blues to rock and roll in the 1950s.
Burl Icle Ivanhoe Ives (June 14, 1909 – April 14, 1995) was an American actor, writer and folk music singer. As an actor, Ives's work included comedies, dramas, and voice work in theater, television, and motion pictures. Referring to Ives's singing, music critic John Rockwell said, "Ives's voice ... had the sheen and finesse of opera without its latter-day Puccinian vulgarities and without the pretensions of operatic ritual.
Eddie Lang (October 25, 1902 – March 26, 1933) was an American jazz guitarist, regarded as the most important Chicago jazz guitarist and the Father of the Jazz Guitar. He played a Gibson L-4 and L-5 guitar, providing great influence for many guitarists, including Django Reinhardt.
Shelton Brooks (May 4, 1886 - September 6, 1975) was a popular music and jazz composer who wrote some of the biggest hits of the first third of the 20th century. Brooks was born in Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada. His family moved to Detroit, Michigan in 1901. Shelton Brooks sang, played piano, and performed on the vaudeville circuit, as well as having a successful songwriting career. His first hit song was "Some of These Days", which he was able to get to headliner Sophie Tucker in 1909.
Mamie Smith (May 26, 1883 – September 16, 1946) was an American vaudeville singer, dancer, pianist and actress, who appeared in several motion pictures late in her career. As a vaudeville singer she performed a number of styles including jazz and blues. She entered blues history by being the first African American to make vocal blues recordings in 1920.
Lucille Bogan (April 1, 1897 – August 10, 1948) was an American blues singer, among the first to be recorded. She also recorded under the pseudonym Bessie Jackson. Bogan sang straight-talking blues about drinking ("Sloppy Drunk Blues"), prostitution ("Tricks Ain't Walking No More"), gambling, lesbianism and other facets of what her generation called 'the life'. The jazz critic and sexologist Ernest Borneman grouped her with Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith in the "the big three of the blues".
Ida Cox (February 25, 1896 – November 10, 1967) was an African American singer and vaudeville performer, best known for her blues performances and recordings. She was billed as "The Uncrowned Queen of the Blues".
Irving Milfred Mole, better known as Miff Mole (11 March 1898 – 29 April 1961) was a jazz trombonist and band leader. He is generally considered as one of the greatest jazz trombonists and credited with creating "the first distinctive and influential solo jazz trombone style.
John Alvin Ray (January 10, 1927 – February 24, 1990) was an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. Popular for most of the 1950s, Ray has been cited by critics as a major precursor of what would become rock and roll, for his jazz and blues-influenced music and his animated stage persona.
Larry Williams (May 10, 1935 – January 7, 1980) was an American rhythm and blues and rock and roll singer, songwriter and pianist from New Orleans, Louisiana. Williams is best known for writing and recording some rock and roll classics from 1957 to 1959 for Specialty Records, including "Bony Moronie", "Short Fat Fannie", "Bad Boy", "Dizzy Miss Lizzie" and "She Said Yeah," which were later covered by British Invasion groups and other artists.
Sam Manning was one of the earliest Calypsonians who achieved international acclaim. He was born around 1899 in Trinidad and died in 1960 while traveling in Africa. Manning served in the British West Indies Regiment in France and the Middle during World War I. In the early 1920s, he moved to New York where he recorded music that combined jazz and calypso rhythms. His song "Lieutenant Julian" commemorated the 1929 transatlantic flight by Trinidadian Hubert Fauntleroy Julian.
Mabel Louise Smith (May 1, 1924 – January 23, 1972), known professionally as Big Maybelle, was an American R&B singer and pianist. Her 1956 hit single "Candy" received the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1999.
Alonzo "Lonnie" Johnson (February 8, 1899 – June 16, 1970) was an American blues and jazz singer/guitarist and songwriter who pioneered the role of jazz guitar and is recognized as the first to play single-string guitar solos.