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Willie L. Hill, Jr.

Professor and musician Willie L. Hill, Jr. was born on July 29, 1946 in Mobile, Alabama to Rennetta and Willie Hill, Sr. After graduating from Williamson High School in Mobile, Alabama, Hill received his B.S. degree in music education from Grambling State College in Grambling, Louisiana in 1968. He went on to receive both his M.M. degree and Ph.D. degree in music education from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1972 and 1987, respectively.

In 1968, Hill began teaching instrumental music in the Denver Public Schools, where he remained for sixteen years and was an instrumental music supervisor for four years. He then joined the faculty at the University of Colorado, Boulder College of Music, where he served as assistant dean and professor of music for eleven years from 1988 to 1999. During that period, he also served as the director of education for the Thelonious Monk Institute in Los Angeles, California. In 1999, Hill was named professor in music education and director of the Fine Arts Center at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

As a woodwind specialist, he was a faculty member of the Clark Terry Great Plains Jazz Camp. He also founded and served as co-director of the Rich Matteson-Telluride Jazz Academy, and later founded the Mile High Jazz Camp in Boulder, Colorado. In 1984, Hill was a member of The Colorado Clarinet Choir touring organization, which represented the United States in London, England at the International Clarinet Symposium. His experiences as a conductor include numerous citywide honor performances, All-State Jazz Ensembles, All-County Bands, and as musical director at The Schwayder and Bonfils Theaters.

Hill was a former member of the Denver Broncos Jazz Ensemble and a regular performer at the Denver Auditorium Theater, Paramount Theater, and Boettcher Concert Hall. Hill also performed with George Burns, Liza Minnelli, Lena Horne, Lou Rawls, Ben Vereen, Lola Falana, Johnny Mathis, Sammy Davis Jr., Dizzy Gillespie, James Moody, Jon Faddis, and many others.

He served as president of The National Association for Music Education (MENC) and the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE). He was also a member of the writing team for MENC's Vision 2020 program and a member of the national board of directors for Young Audiences, Inc. Hill later served as president of the Colorado Music Educators Association and Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society.

In 1998, he was inducted into the Colorado Music Educators Hall of Fame. In 2001, Hill was the recipient of the Lawrence Berk Leadership Award presented by the IAJE. Hill co-authored Learning to Sight-Read Jazz, Rock, Latin, and Classical Styles, and was the author of The Instrumental History of Jazz, Approaching the Standards, and Jazz Pedagogy: The Jazz Educator's Handbook and Resource Guide. Hill is listed in the first edition of Who's Who among Black Americans, Who's Who among International Musicians and was a 2003 Lowell Mason Fellow.

Willie L. Hill, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 5, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.221

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/5/2018

Last Name

Hill

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Willie

Birth City, State, Country

Mobile

HM ID

HIL19

Favorite Season

October

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Carribean

Favorite Quote

Never Put Off for Tomorrow What You Can Do Today

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

7/29/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Northampton

Favorite Food

Fried Fish

Short Description

Professor and musician Willie L. Hill, Jr. (1946- ) served as assistant dean and professor of music at the University of Colorado, Boulder and was named professor in music education and director of the Fine Arts Center at University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Favorite Color

Purple

Kevin Eubanks

Jazz musician Kevin Eubanks was born on November 15, 1957 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Vera Bryant Eubanks, a gospel and classical pianist and music teacher, and William Eubanks, a police officer and security manager for AT&T. As a young child, Eubanks was trained in piano and violin at the Settlement Music School in Philadelphia. He also studied jazz guitar with Ted Dunbar at Rutgers University. After graduating from Germantown High School in 1976, Eubanks earned his B.A. degree in composition from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts in 1979.

Upon moving to New York City to pursue a career in music, Eubanks joined Art Blakey’s band, the Jazz Messengers, and started his own group, the Kevin Eubanks Quartet. In 1983, Eubanks released his first record, Guitarist, with Elektra Records, and the following year, he released his second album, Sundance, with GRP Records. Eubanks went on to release several albums with the label, including Opening Night in 1985, Face to Face in 1986, The Heat of Heat in 1987, Show Prophets in 1988, The Searcher in 1989, and Promise of Tomorrow in 1990. In 1992, Eubanks moved to Los Angeles to play as the guitarist on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He released several additional albums with Blue Note Records, including Spirit Talk in 1993 and Live at Bradley in 1994. From 1995 to 2010, Eubanks was the band director of The Tonight Show’s band. He also signed with Insoul Records and released the albums Shine in 2002 and Slow Freight in 2003. After leaving The Tonight Show in 2010, Eubanks became the artistic director for the Thelonious Monk Institute's Jazz in the Classroom Program. With Mack Avenue Records, he recorded and released the albums Zen Food in 2010, The Messenger in 2012, and East West Time Line in 2017. Eubanks has recorded with jazz singers like Dianne Reeves, Terri Lyne Carrington, and Carmen Lundy.

Eubanks was an active member of the Artistic Advisory Panel of the BMI Foundation since 1999. He received an honorary doctorate degree from Berklee College of Music in 2006. In 2010, Eubanks was inducted into the Philadelphia Music Alliance’s Walk of Fame; and in 2014, he was awarded the Mark Twain Prize from PBS for his work on The Tonight Show.

Kevin Eubanks was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 19, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.050

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/19/2018

Last Name

Eubanks

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Kevin

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia

HM ID

EUB01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Tropical

Favorite Quote

You're Beautiful All You Have To Do Is Stop Trying To Be.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

11/15/1957

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Favorite Food

Any plant-based food

Short Description

Jazz musician Kevin Eubanks (1957-) was the band leader of The Tonight Show house band, and released over twenty albums.

Favorite Color

Blue and Sunset

Paul Riser, Sr.

Musician and music arranger Paul Riser, Sr. was born on September 11, 1943 in Detroit, Michigan. Riser attended Keating Elementary School in Detroit, where he began to develop an interest in music. Riser later enrolled at Cass Technical High School in Detroit, where he studied classical and jazz trombone, as well as musical theory. At Cass Technical High School, he was mentored and encouraged by people such as Dr. Harold Arnoldi and Dr. Harry Begian. He graduated from Cass Technical High School in 1961.

After graduation, Riser began working as a session musician playing trombonist with The Funk Brothers at Motown Records. By 1963, Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown Records, chose Riser to work as a music arranger at Motown Records. He worked on a number of Motown hits during his tenure, including “ I Heard It Through the Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye, ”My Girl” by The Temptations, “My Cherie Amour” by Stevie Wonder, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Diana Ross, "If I Were Your Woman" by Gladys Knight & The Pips, "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)” written by Ashford and Simpson as performed by Diana Ross, and “The Tears of a Clown” by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles. Following his departure from Motown Records in 1973, Paul Riser continued to arrange songs for popular artists. He has worked with artists such as Quincy Jones, The Carpenters, Carly Simon, Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, and Phil Collins. In 2003, Riser arranged music for R. Kelly’s fifth studio album, Chocolate Factory. The album debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart and sold over three million copies worldwide.

In 1972, Riser won a Grammy Award for “Best R&B Instrumental Performance” for the song “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone” by The Temptations. He was nominated for another Grammy Award in 1982, for “Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocals” for the song “Do I Do”, which was performed by Stevie Wonder. In 2009, Riser was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum.

Riser and his wife have a son, Paul Riser, Jr.

Paul Riser, Sr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 16, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.187

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/18/2017

Last Name

Riser

Maker Category
Organizations
First Name

Paul

Birth City, State, Country

Detroit

HM ID

RIS01

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bahamas

Favorite Quote

Nice Job, But Let’s Do It Again

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Birth Date

9/11/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Detroit

Country

United States of America

Favorite Food

Banana Pudding

Short Description

Musician and music arranger Paul Riser, Sr. (1943 - ) worked as a session musician and music arranger for Motown Records from 1961 until 1973. He arranged music for many artists since his departure from Motown and has won two Grammy Awards.

Favorite Color

Aqua

Jimmy Heath

Musician and jazz composer Jimmy Heath was born on October 25, 1926 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Arlethia and Percy Heath Sr. He attended Walter George Smith School in South Philadelphia and graduated from Williston Industrial School in Wilmington North Carolina in 1943.

As a teenager, Heath took music lessons and played the alto saxophone in the high school marching band. He also played in a jazz band called the Melody Barons and toured with the Calvin Todd Band in 1945, before joining a dance band in Omaha, Nebraska led by Nat Towles. Heath later formed his own big band, including John Coltrane, Specs Wright and Nelson Boyd. He also recorded with trumpeter Howard McGhee, who called him “Little Bird” because of his affinity to Charlie Parker. In 1948, McGhee took Heath and his older brother Percy to Paris, France for the First International Jazz Festival headlined by Coleman Hawkins and including Erroll Garner.

In 1949, he recorded his first big band arrangement on Gil Fuller Orchestra’s Bebop Boys. Dizzy Gillespie then hired Heath to play in his band with Coltrane and Specs Wright. In 1952, Heath switched to Tenor sax and played with the Symphony Sid All Stars, featuring Miles Davis, J.J. Johnson, Milt Jackson, Kenny Clarke and his brother Percy. In 1953, Heath recorded his composition C.T.A with Miles Davis and another with J.J. Johnson which included Clifford Brown.

In 1959, Heath rejoined Miles Davis and made his debut album for Riverside Records called The Thumper followed by Really Big in 1960, The Quota in 1962, and Triple Threat in 1963. Heath recorded eight more albums as a leader. In 1975, he formed the Heath Brothers, with his two brothers, Percy and Albert “Tootie” Heath and Stanley Cowell, and recorded albums Live At The Public Theater on CBS for which they received a Grammy nomination, As We Were Saying and Endurance released in 2010.

In 1987, Heath became a professor of music at the Aaron Copland School Of Music at Queens College. There, he premiered his first symphonic work, Three Ears with Maurice Peress. In 2010, Heath’s autobiography was published by Temple University Press, I Walked With Giants, and it was voted “Best Book of The Year” by the Jazz Journalist Association. Heath recorded three big band records, Little Man Big Band produced by Bill Cosby, Turn Up The Heath and Togetherness live at the Blue Note. Vocalist Roberta Gambarini recorded twelve Heath songs for the album, Connecting Spirits.

Heath received a Life Achievement Award from the Jazz Foundation of America and the 2003 American Jazz Master Award from the National Endowment for the Arts. He was nominated for three Grammy Awards and has received three honorary doctorate degrees. He was also the first jazz musician to receive an honorary doctorate in music from the Juilliard School in New York.

Heath has one son, James Mtume, from a previous relationship and two children with his wife, Mona Heath; their daughter, Roslyn Heath and their son, Jeffrey Heath.

Jimmy Heath was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 9, 2016 and January 17, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.002

Sex

Male

Interview Date

01/17/2017

Last Name

Heath

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Edward

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Walter George Smith School

Williston Middle School of Math, Science & Technology

First Name

Jimmy

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia

HM ID

HEA01

Favorite Season

Birthday

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bahamas

Favorite Quote

Life Is Music And Music Is Life.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

10/25/1926

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Favorite Food

Salmon

Short Description

Musician and jazz composer Jimmy Heath (1926 - ) was known for his jazz and bebop contributions, notably his pieces “C.T.A.” and “Gingerbread Boy,” and as a member of the Heath Brothers. He was the first jazz musician to receive an honorary doctorate in music from the Juilliard School in New York.

Favorite Color

Blue

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jimmy Heath's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jimmy Heath lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jimmy Heath describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jimmy Heath describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jimmy Heath talks about his paternal uncle Willie Johnson

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jimmy Heath remembers his father, Percy Heath, Sr.

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jimmy Heath talks about his step grandfather's business in Wilmington, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jimmy Heath recalls his family's church involvement

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jimmy Heath talks about his sister, Elizabeth Heath Reid

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Jimmy Heath describes his brother, Percy Heath, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jimmy Heath recalls the musical career of his brother Albert "Tootie" Heath

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jimmy Heath talks about other popular musical families

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jimmy Heath describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jimmy Heath talks about his brother Percy Heath, Jr.'s musical education

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jimmy Heath describes his family's involvement in music

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jimmy Heath remembers living between Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Wilmington, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jimmy Heath recalls his decision to play the saxophone

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Jimmy Heath remembers his early musical experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Jimmy Heath recalls attending Williston High School in Wilmington, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jimmy Heath describes the differences between swing and bebop music, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jimmy Heath describes the differences between swing and bebop music, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jimmy Heath remembers hearing Charlie Parker's and Dizzy Gillespie's music for the first time

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jimmy Heath talks about playing with John Coltrane and Charlie Parker

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jimmy Heath recalls organizing a benefit concert for Mary Etta Jordan

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jimmy Heath talks about his son James Mtume

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jimmy Heath remembers playing in Dizzy Gillespie's band

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Jimmy Heath recalls the jazz community in his early career

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Jimmy Heath describes Dizzy Gillespie's personality

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Jimmy Heath remembers saxophonist John Coltrane

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jimmy Heath talks about John Coltrane's music and the spirituality of jazz

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jimmy Heath remembers composer Sun Ra

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jimmy Heath talks about drummer Specs Wright

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jimmy Heath talks about the reaction to bebop music in the South

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jimmy Heath reflects upon the lack of institutional support for jazz in the United States, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Jimmy Heath reflects upon the lack of institutional support for jazz in the United States, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Jimmy Heath recalls the start of his heroin addiction

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Jimmy Heath remembers being convicted of selling heroin

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Jimmy Heath talks about the impacts of heroin on the jazz community, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Jimmy Heath talks about the impacts of heroin on the jazz community, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jimmy Heath talks about recovering from heroin addiction while incarcerated

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Jimmy Heath remembers recording with Columbia Records

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Jimmy Heath talks about his marriage to Mona Brown Heath

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Jimmy Heath recalls recording with Riverside Records

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Jimmy Heath remembers Miles Davis

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Jimmy Heath talks about playing modal jazz with Miles Davis

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Jimmy Heath describes his album 'Really Big!'

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Jimmy Heath talks about the range of wind instruments used in jazz

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Jimmy Heath talks about moving to New York City in 1964

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

4$8

DATitle
Jimmy Heath talks about playing with John Coltrane and Charlie Parker
Jimmy Heath recalls the jazz community in his early career
Transcript
Now did you form a big band yourself at some point (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Yes.$$Okay.$$When I came home, back home from Nat Towles, I had copied a couple of arrangements from their book; and I had, I wanted to start a big band of my own in Philadelphia [Pennsylvania] and I did that around 1947.$$Okay.$$And I was fortunate enough, Coltrane [John Coltrane] had just come out of the [U.S.] Navy with a friend, another friend of mine, they were in the Navy together, named Bill Massey, a trumpeter. And Bill introduced me to Coltrane and I asked John, I said, "Man, I got a big band, man, would you play, would you consider playing?" He said, "Yeah." So he played in my big band and that's what this picture is about from 1947 with me conducting the band and Trane is between me and Charlie Parker. Charlie Parker is sitting in with my band. And he had used my horn the whole week, Charlie Parker used my horn in the Downbeat club with Miles Davis, Max Roach, and his band, the quintet. And I asked him would he play this concert with my big band and Bird said yes, he would do it. And he did it. And between myself and Coltrane is, I mean, between Bird and myself is Coltrane with a cigarette looking at Charlie Parker like this (gesture). And I was very honored to have Bird playing my horn for a week, his was in the pawnshop. And to, to, I used to give it when I was teaching at Queens College [Queens, New York], I would give a copy of it, this same photo that shows that Trane is in complete awe of Charlie Parker--$$Now, this is (simultaneous)--$$--(simultaneous) as we all were. 'Cause a lot of young kids they come up in the college and say, "Oh, Coltrane, Coltrane, Coltrane." I say well, why is he looking at Bird like that (gesture)? 'Cause he's, (laughter) 'cause Charlie Parker was doing some of that stuff he learned to do before he did it.$$Yeah, so this is, I mean, anyway, just thinking about this is (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) And that's why I wrote the book, 'I Walked With Giants' ['I Walked With Giants: The Autobiography of Jimmy Heath,' Jimmy Heath and Joseph McLaren].$$Yeah.$$'Cause I'm around Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, man.$$Well--$$I met Duke [Duke Ellington] once, but Pops [Pops Foster], Louis Armstrong, and all these people, I walked with giants.$$So you're twenty years old but, you know, Coltrane is just kind of starting out.$$No, he was twenty, we're the same--$$Okay. Yeah.$$He's a month older than me. September the 23rd, I'm October the 25th of '26 [1926].$$Yeah, but, okay. You're twenty years old and you got a group that includes John Coltrane who you're the same age but you got like, you--$$Benny Golson.$$--Charlie Parker is sitting in your, in your group--$$Sitting in with my band.$$And he's playing gigs with Miles Davis and--?$$His band.$$His--$$He's playing at the Downbeat club in Philadelphia.$One thing I didn't ask you about, and there's reference in the research here, that a lot of the musicians, when they would come to town [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania] they, you would bring them to your house?$$Yes.$$Okay.$$Yeah. My mother [Arlethia Wall Heath] would, well, well, my mother and father [Percy Heath, Sr.] were so in love with music, they would allow us to bring any, you know, we'd bring a whole band down there and mom would fix some food. So we brought Dizzy's band, that's when he first told me, he said, "Man," I say, "Dizzy [Dizzy Gillespie], I want to write." He said, "Man, if you want to learn how to write you gotta get to the keyboard, you know." And I, that was about four or five members of his band and they came to the house. I had the whole Horace Silver band, I had the whole Yusef Lateef band. I would invite everybody. Charlie Parker, (unclear) invited him down to my house, you know, my mother was in tune with that.$$It, it seems, and while I know it's true that, that, that there's a, like being a creative musician puts you in a, almost like a fraternity; right?$$Well, you know, it was different in those days because the professionals were not snobs and they weren't ego maniacs. I call them Ego Stravinskys.$$(Laughter).$$They weren't Ego Stravinskys. They would tell you anything that they knew so they were the teachers, mentors. We didn't have it in all the colleges and universities so we learned from our predecessors and that's the way we did. And they were, were humble and they gave us whatever they had learned, they'd give it to us. You know, they didn't charge us nothing, you ain't gotta go to no classroom and all, if they knew something they'd show you. It was a, a brotherhood thing, fraternity, or whatever you want to call it.

James Poyser

Songwriter, producer and musician James Jason Poyser was born in Sheffield, England in 1967 to Jamaican parents Reverend Felix and Lilith Poyser. Poyser’s family moved to West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania when he was nine years old and he discovered his musical talents in the church. Poyser attended Philadelphia Public Schools and graduated from Temple University with his B.S. degree in finance.

Upon graduation, Poyser apprenticed with the songwriting/producing duo Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. Poyser then established the Axis Music Group with his partners, Vikter Duplaix and Chauncey Childs. He became a founding member of the musical collective Soulquarians and went on to write and produce songs for various legendary and award-winning artists including Erykah Badu, Mariah Carey, John Legend, Lauryn Hill, Common, Anthony Hamilton, D'Angelo, The Roots, and Keyshia Cole. He was credited as writer/producer for multiple songs on Erykah Badu’s debut album, Baduizm; has writer, producer and musician credits on Lauryn Hill’s multiple Grammy-winning album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill; was a musician on Adele’s acclaimed album, 21; and served as executive co-producer and writer on Al Green’s Lay it Down. He was also the executive producer on Badu's highly celebrated albums, Mama's Gun and Worldwide Underground.

He is an active session musician and has contributed to the works of other artists such as Norah Jones, Eric Clapton, Joss Stone, Ziggy Marley, Macy Gray and Femi Kuti. In addition, Poyser has toured, and played live as a keyboardist with Jay-Z, The Roots, Erykah Badu, and Aretha Franklin, among others. He is a regular member of The Roots, and has joined them on stage as the houseband for NBC's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and subsequently The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Poyser’s awards include a Grammy for Best R&B Song in 2003 for co-writing Erykah Badu and Common's hit “Love Of My Life.”

He resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

James Poyser was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 6, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.143

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/6/2014

Last Name

Poyser

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Temple University

Add B. Anderson Elementary School

John P. Turner Middle School

West Philadelphia Catholic High School

George Washington Carver High School for Engineering and Science

Drexel University

First Name

James

Birth City, State, Country

Sheffield

HM ID

POY01

Favorite Season

Fall

Favorite Vacation Destination

The Beach

Favorite Quote

God Bless You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Pennsylvania

Birth Date

1/30/1967

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Philadelphia

Country

England

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Songwriter, producer, and musician James Poyser (1967 - ) was co-founder of the Axis Music Group and founding member of the musical collective Soulquarians. He was a Grammy award-winning songwriter, musician and multi-platinum producer. Poyser was also a regular member of The Roots, and joined them as the houseband for NBC's The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Employment

Axis Music Group

Soulquarians

The Roots / The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Favorite Color

Blue

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of James Poyser's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - James Poyser lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - James Poyser describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - James Poyser talks about his parents' early relationship

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - James Poyser describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - James Poyser describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - James Poyser lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - James Poyser recalls his family's immigration to England and the United States, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - James Poyser describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - James Poyser describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - James Poyser recalls his family's immigration to England and the United States, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - James Poyser talks about his father's church in Sheffield, England

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - James Poyser recalls his education in Great Britain

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - James Poyser describes his early personality

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - James Poyser remembers moving to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - James Poyser recalls his father founding New Testament Church of God in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 17 - James Poyser talks about adjusting to life in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - James Poyser describes his exposure to American television

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - James Poyser talks about his parents' decision to move to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - James Poyser recalls his time at Add B. Anderson Elementary School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - James Poyser remembers family holidays during his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - James Poyser describes his early education in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - James Poyser talks about his early exposure to playing music

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - James Poyser recalls his responsibilities during his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - James Poyser talks about his parents' careers

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - James Poyser describes his high school experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - James Poyser talks about the Philadelphia based organization MOVE

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - James Poyser recalls the violence in his childhood community

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - James Poyser remembers studying chemical engineering at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - James Poyser recalls learning to play the piano

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - James Poyser describes the differences between playing drums and piano

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - James Poyser talks about his first exposure to secular music

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - James Poyser recalls transferring to Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - James Poyser remembers the music scene at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - James Poyser recalls meeting DJ Jazzy Jeff

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - James Poyser talks about touring with CeCe Peniston

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - James Poyser recalls co-founding Axis Music Group in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - James Poyser remembers learning music production from Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - James Poyser remembers learning music production from Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - James Poyser describes his breakthrough work on the 'Baduizm' album

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - James Poyser talks about his creative process

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - James Poyser recalls co-writing songs with Erykah Badu

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - James Poyser remembers his first paycheck after producing the 'Baduizm' album

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - James Poyser describes his relationship with The Roots

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - James Poyser talks about the Soulquarians

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - James Poyser recalls producing music with D'Angelo

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - James Poyser remembers Common's relationship with Erykah Badu

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - James Poyser describes J Dilla's influence on contemporary music

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - James Poyser describes Frankie Knuckles' music

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - James Poyser talks about the evolution of Questlove's stage name

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - James Poyser recalls performing on The Voodoo World Tour

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - James Poyser remembers his major projects in 2000

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - James Poyser recalls producing the 'Mama's Gun' album

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - James Poyser talks about Common's and Erykah Badu's break up

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - James Poyser recalls producing the song 'Love of My Life (An Ode to Hip-Hop)'

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - James Poyser remembers Jill Scott's involvement with A Touch of Jazz in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - James Poyser recalls producing music with Lauryn Hill

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - James Poyser remembers working with Mary J. Blige

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - James Poyser recalls difficult recording sessions

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - James Poyser talks about changes in the music industry

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - James Poyser remembers the birth of his son, Jadyn Poyser

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - James Poyser recalls joining The Roots on the 'Late Show with David Letterman'

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - James Poyser describes the challenges of playing in a house band

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - James Poyser talks about his future plans

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - James Poyser describes his musical influences

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - James Poyser talks about the appropriation of neo soul music by foreign artists

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - James Poyser reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - James Poyser reflects upon the legacies of the artists he's known

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - James Poyser reflects upon his legacy

Vincent Chancey

Musician Vincent Chancey was born on February 4, 1950 in Chicago, Illinois. In junior high school, Chancey played the cornet, trumpet and flugelhorn. However, after hearing the French horn during rehearsals, he switched to the French horn. While performing with his high school band, Chancey was active with local musical groups like the Giles Yellow Jackets, the St. Andrews Hornets and the Des Plaines Vanguard competitive drum and bugle corps. He went on to attend and receive his B.A. degree from the Southern Illinois University School of Music in 1973.

Upon graduation, Chancey was awarded a National Education Association grant to study under jazz musician Julius Watkins, a renowned French horn player. In 1976, he played professionally for Sun Ra Arkestra, where he worked to incorporate the French horn as a jazz instrument, which he would do throughout the remainder of his career. From 1978 until 1984, Chancey worked with the Carla Bley Band. Then, in 1984, he joined Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy, where he was featured on all of the group’s nine recordings. Chancey later worked with Dave Douglas in the 2000’s. He was also a member of the David Murray Big Band, which included him on five of its CDs. Chancey went on to perform with a number of other artists, including Ashford and Simpson, Melba Moore, Peggy Lee, Maxwell, Aretha Franklin, Cassandra Wilson, Freddy Jackson, The Winans, Elvis Costello, Brandy, Charlie Haden Liberation Orchestra, Dave Douglas, and Diana Krall. He also performed with classical groups such as the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Pan American Symphony, the One World Symphony, the Zephyr Woodwind Quintet, and the Netherlands Opera. In all, Chancey recorded with various artists on more than 300 albums, CDs and soundtracks.

In 1993, Chancey released his first solo album, Welcome Mr. Chancey; and, in 1998, his second album, Next Mode. Later, Chancey released the album LEGenDES Imaginaires. In 2000, he was asked to play the French horn at Pope John Paul II’s eightieth birthday concert at the Vatican.

Vincent Chancey was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 22, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.291

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/22/2013

Last Name

Chancey

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Southern Illinois University School of Music

Parker High School

First Name

Vincent

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

CHA11

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Italy

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

2/4/1950

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Musician Vincent Chancey (1950 - ) was a professional jazz French horn player. He played in the Sun Ra Arkestra, and later recorded albums like Welcome Mr. Chancey and Next Mode with his own band.

Employment

Sun Ra Arkestra

Carla Bley Band

Lester Bowie's Brass Fantasy

David Murray Big Band

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
234,0:2028,32:2418,38:4134,65:5070,81:5538,106:18054,265:25722,376:26910,388:30366,452:38167,515:38491,520:39544,538:40921,570:41326,577:42217,595:42703,603:48859,700:56068,856:73893,1091:75048,1161:75356,1166:77127,1211:77666,1229:80207,1287:91484,1423:95900,1490:99396,1542:106232,1611:110570,1641:116057,1754:137856,2089:140520,2169:141852,2198:142370,2206:146935,2251:165794,2491:166102,2496:167257,2520:167565,2525:171646,2596:186640,2915:187165,2923:201730,3142:208232,3435:208524,3441:213707,3627:226050,3869$0,0:7374,131:14082,256:14426,261:19414,324:24832,422:31983,514:36723,638:37592,657:40900,680:42083,705:45268,761:45996,771:57048,981:57664,989:58984,1012:66288,1142:74032,1333:74384,1338:74824,1344:77112,1388:77728,1396:78432,1406:79136,1416:83024,1448:87799,1540:90704,1678:94024,1817:121268,2173:129910,2306:130940,2341
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Vincent Chancey's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Vincent Chancey lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Vincent Chancey describes his birth parents' background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Vincent Chancey remembers being placed in foster care

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Vincent Chancey describes his foster household

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Vincent Chancey talks about his experiences of abuse in foster care

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Vincent Chancey recalls his household chores

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Vincent Chancey describes his relationship with his foster parents

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Vincent Chancey describes his foster mother's abuse

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Vincent Chancey remembers the holidays with his foster family

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Vincent Chancey recalls the last time he saw his foster mother

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Vincent Chancey describes his early personality

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Vincent Chancey talks about his early interest in music

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Vincent Chancey remembers his hospitalization as an infant

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Vincent Chancey recalls his piano lessons at the Chicago Musical College

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Vincent Chancey talks about his attraction to music

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Vincent Chancey recalls moving to the South Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Vincent Chancey describes his home in the Englewood section of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Vincent Chancey recalls his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Vincent Chancey remembers the drum and bugle corps

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Vincent Chancey describes Parker High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Vincent Chancey describes his success in the drum and bugle corps

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Vincent Chancey remembers playing in the concert band at Parker High School

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Vincent Chancey recalls his foster mother's opinion of his musical talent

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Vincent Chancey talks about the popular songs of the 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Vincent Chancey recalls joining the Des Plaines Vanguard

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Vincent Chancey describes his experiences of discrimination on the North Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Vincent Chancey remembers marching in drum and bugle corps competitions

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Vincent Chancey recalls his decision to focus on the French horn

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Vincent Chancey remembers his scholarship to Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Vincent Chancey talks about his siblings' education

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Vincent Chancey describes his experiences at Southern Illinois University

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Vincent Chancey remembers his audition for the music program at Southern Illinois University

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Vincent Chancey describes his training in music department of Southern Illinois University

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Vincent Chancey talks about his summer work experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Vincent Chancey remembers moving to New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Vincent Chancey recalls his mentor, Julius Watkins

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Vincent Chancey talks about the development of his musical style

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Vincent Chancey remembers touring with the Sun Ra Arkestra

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Vincent Chancey remembers playing with Sun Ra

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Vincent Chancey describes his reasons for leaving the Sun Ra Arkestra

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Vincent Chancey reflects upon the development of his jazz technique

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Vincent Chancey remembers playing with Carla Bley

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Vincent Chancey remembers his musical collaborations

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Vincent Chancey describes his income as a musician

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Vincent Chancey remembers traveling in rural America with Sun Ra

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Vincent Chancey talks about the culture of the Sun Ra Arkestra

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Vincent Chancey describes the structure of a jazz band rehearsal

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Vincent Chancey talks about the free jazz movement

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Vincent Chancey talks about the changes in his musical style

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Vincent Chancey describes his French horn technique

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Vincent Chancey talks about Lester Bowie's Brass Fantasy

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Vincent Chancey recalls playing in jazz festivals

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Vincent Chancey remembers Lester Bowie's death

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Vincent Chancey remembers Lester Bowie

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Vincent Chancey recalls meeting his wife

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Vincent Chancey talks about his master classes

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Vincent Chancey recalls forming the Vincent Chancey quintet

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Vincent Chancey talks about his record, 'Welcome Mr. Chancey'

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Vincent Chancey describes the Julius Watkins French Horn Festival

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Vincent Chancey reflects upon his compositions

Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Vincent Chancey talks about his music students

Tape: 5 Story: 14 - Vincent Chancey reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Vincent Chancey recalls his musical collaborations

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Vincent Chancey reflects upon his career

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Vincent Chancey talks about his favorite artists

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Vincent Chancey plays an original composition on the French horn

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Vincent Chancey talks about the spirituality behind his music

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Vincent Chancey reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Vincent Chancey shares his advice for children from abusive homes

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Vincent Chancey describes how he would like to be remembered and reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Vincent Chancey narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

9$5

DATitle
Vincent Chancey remembers traveling in rural America with Sun Ra
Vincent Chancey remembers Lester Bowie's death
Transcript
What other things--can you, are there other Sun Ra stories you'd like to sort of share?$$Travel stories?$$Travel stories or--$$(Makes sound) I have a million of them (laughter)--$$Well, let's just share a few of them.$$Well Sun Ra, he, he traveled all over America unlike any other band that I've ever worked with. He would play in every little town in you know, Missouri or Oklahoma or Tennessee you know, he'd go to all kinds of places. So this one trip, I was traveling, I don't know where we were going but we were traveling through Texas, I think we were going to Texas, going through New Mexico, driving in like two or three vans on, on the road, so as we're driving like one [o'clock] in the morning, like all, all the guys in the vans drove the vans, we didn't have drivers and everything was totally self contained, so this was the day of the CD radios, so you know, Sun Ra said, "I'm hungry," you know, and it's like one in the morning, so all the guys in the van started saying, "Sunny's hungry, Sunny's hungry." So I--all the three cars knew that, you know, so we had to find a restaurant so we saw this little sign that just said, "Restaurant," a neon sign in the middle of nowhere on the highway going through New Mexico. I remember we, we were going through Deming, New Mexico, so he said, "Get off there and let's find this restaurant." So you know, we get off the highway drive down a dirt road for like three miles and then we pull up to this area that's like kind of a shack with like maybe a Budweiser sign and you know lights and some pickup trucks parked there, so, you know, one in the morning, mind. So we get out, open the door. When Sun Ra, when he traveled he wore everything that he wore, wore on stage so he had like this, this big tunic with a Saturn on it and a cape and then he had a hat that had lights that spin around, so the door opens, Sun Ra's standing there with this cape blowing and the wind and hat spinning with the lights on his hat and these guys are sitting at the bar you know, like drinking Budweiser with cowboy hats and so, so everybody just stopped and they looked you know, Sun Ra is there with all these guys, you know, the guys you know were wearing turbans and all kinds of stuff, so they were like, "What the hell?" So you know we all walk in the place, so a lady comes up and she says, "Y'all ain't from around here are you?" That's one story I will always remember with Sun Ra.$$'Cause you know when I think of him, God, who do I also think of? You know for some reason, but it's a whole different thing, I think of George Clinton in some respects (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Well, yeah, I mean--$$--because--$$--George Clinton said he learned everything he knew from Sun Ra, I mean that they, and he even said in an interview, somebody mentioned Sun Ra to him, he said, "Yes, we eat at the same lunch counter," you know.$$That's what I think, his earlier version.$$Right, right, yeah because when I first saw him, when I was in college [Southern Illinois University], when I was in Carbondale [Illinois] I went to one of their concerts and, well that's before I was playing with Sun Ra, I was, I think I was nineteen years old, I said, "Wow this guy is weird," you know, what a weird, strange band [Parliament-Funkadelic], you know, almost scary (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Right, it was right--$$--I was kind of frightened by it.$$Do you know what--he also had like, they had a, that group thing had to have, you know, it was also--$$A cult kind of feeling, yeah (simultaneous).$$--(simultaneous) I don't want to--cult. Oh, well not a cult. But sort of like, you know, everyone had this sort of, it was, you had, it was all in the environment--$$Right.$$--you know.$$Everybody had their own strange appearance and dress and yeah (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Right, that's right, that's right.$Okay, so you played with him how long, with Lester Bowie you said?$$I played with Lester until his death, so I played with him for fifteen years.$$Oh 'til his deat- 'cause that's what I was going to say, oh.$$In fact when he, when he, when he got sick, we were doing a concert in Portugal once and on the way back from the, from the concert he was on the plane and he said, "Oh god, I've got this feeling, this pain in my stomach. I don't know what it is, just, you know, it's really bothering me." I said, "You should go to the doctor Lester when we get home, when we get back." He went to the doctor, the doctor told him that he had cancer and had six months to live, right, just like that. So, you know, he had a tour planned like the fifth and sixth of those six months you know, so, so he said he was going to do the tour. I said, "Lester, why are you going to do that, you should, you should really take care of yourself." He said, "No, I mean I've spent my whole life playing music, music is what I love, what I do, so if I go out, I want to go out doing what I love." So when we did the rehearsals for the, for the tour he gave everybody in the band all these parts. He said, "If I'm not there on this song you play this part where I play and you play--," you know, and all, he did all of the songs like that. We get like three quarters of the way through the tour he was getting worse and worse and worse as it went on. We got to London [England] and he went in the hospital and the doctors said, "Get this man home." He went, came, he came back home and died in two days and we--he said but, before he left, he said, "Finish the tour." We still had two more weeks of touring, so we finished the tour and he was (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) In his honor--$$--he had died before we finished the tour, yeah.$$Wow. So no one was with--$$Yeah, so we weren't even there to play for his memorial or whatever, it was, it was sad.$$So he, he, he decided not to get any treatment?$$Well, he was doing some treatments, but you know, he had let it go so bad, I mean Lester was a big drinker, he had you know, some drug issues you know.$$You know, but he wasn't that old, he was fifty-eight, it might have been (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Fifty-eight--$$Fifty-eight when he died, he wasn't that old.$$I know, I know.$$So he--

Aja Graydon

Singer and songwriter Aja Graydon was born on September 25, 1978 in Los Angeles, California. At the age of fifteen, Graydon secured a recording contract with Delicious Vinyl. After the dissolution of her deal with the Los Angeles-based independent label, Dantzler migrated to Philadelphia, recording music with the burgeoning hip-hop group "The Roots." In 1997, Graydon met Fatin Dantzler, her future husband and primary musical collaborator and two years later, they married. The couple formed "Kindred the Family Soul," a classic soul and R&B music group. After being discovered by R&B legend Jill Scott at a Philadelphia music showcase, Kindred signed a recording contract with Hidden Beach Recordings (HBR) in 2001. In March 2003, the group released its first studio album titled, Surrender to Love, which peaked to seven and twenty nine on the Billboard Heatseekers and R&B albums’ charts, respectively. Two years later, the duo released their second studio album, In This Life Together, which climbed to number fifteen on the Billboard R&B chart. In 2006, Kindred’s song "My Time" was named the official song of the National Education Association’s Read Across America campaign. Kindred then released The Arrival, its third album on Hidden Beach, in 2008. The album rose to number seven on the Billboard R&B albums’ chart. The duo released its fourth album Love Has No Recession in 2011, which rose to number nineteen and fifteen on the R&B and Independent Albums’ charts, respectively. The group also launched a web-based reality television show in 2010.

Graydon and her husband have garnered critical acclaim for their work as "Kindred the Family Soul." In 2003, the duo garnered a Soul Train nomination. Three years later, Kindred was nominated for a BET Award. Graydon and Dantzler have worked with Grammy Award-winning recording artists like Jill Scott, India.Arie, The Roots and Snoop Dogg. Fatin and Dantzler reside in Philadelphia and have six children.

Aja Graydon was interviewed by the The HistoryMakers on May 22, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.112

Sex

Female

Interview Date

5/22/2012

Last Name

Graydon

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Robert Brent Elementary School

Maret School

Francis C. Hammond Middle School

Duke Ellington School Of The Arts

First Name

Aja

Birth City, State, Country

Los Angeles

HM ID

GRA13

Favorite Season

Summer

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

Africa

Favorite Quote

Goodness Goodnight.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Pennsylvania

Birth Date

9/25/1978

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Philadelphia

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Cake (Chocolate)

Short Description

Musician Aja Graydon (1978 - ) was best known, along with her singing partner and husband Fatin Dantzler, as the critically acclaimed R&B and Soul music group, Kindred the Family Soul.

Employment

Kindred the Family Soul

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:11968,221:13123,242:14201,262:14509,267:15279,278:15818,287:27258,490:28194,509:29274,528:32277,565:32593,571:33225,582:35121,614:38439,692:42942,767:53900,883:54116,888:55088,915:55574,925:55898,932:56114,937:61015,1021:63670,1084:65322,1116:67328,1170:68095,1187:68390,1193:68626,1198:69275,1210:69570,1216:77897,1331:78962,1354:79246,1359:80737,1389:83790,1453:89008,1501:90625,1530:95760,1573:98160,1645:103408,1720:104357,1744:104722,1750:107861,1827:108518,1841:110197,1870:120538,1997:127115,2091:127845,2104:128940,2131:133824,2243:140124,2334:143484,2398:143988,2405:149440,2431:150532,2453:152872,2487:153340,2495:153886,2504:154198,2509:154666,2516:155134,2529:156070,2545:159424,2623:166995,2671:171480,2734:182371,2922:183001,2943:183316,2957:183568,2962:186466,3027:187096,3040:187600,3050:187978,3057:188230,3062:192577,3154:192829,3159:193522,3179:193900,3186:194341,3195:195412,3215:195916,3224:196231,3230:202344,3257:204104,3299:205952,3328:210000,3390:216157,3434:216433,3440:216916,3448:220090,3511:220918,3534:222643,3573:223057,3580:224161,3603:224644,3611:224920,3616:234500,3722$0,0:438,9:9804,174:10252,180:10812,186:12940,271:24664,434:25049,454:26204,474:26820,484:28052,579:47719,912:50656,960:52347,977:54394,996:57420,1059:67720,1143:70567,1171:71263,1181:71611,1186:77092,1290:77962,1306:84402,1445:90861,1507:94760,1589:104202,1786:113519,1901:113904,1908:114289,1914:114905,1925:115829,1944:119217,2025:119679,2032:119987,2037:121065,2059:121604,2073:121912,2078:122759,2092:124530,2130:124838,2135:125454,2149:125916,2160:131067,2188:131699,2197:133279,2226:133595,2231:133990,2237:135570,2276:145290,2395:151480,2471:154662,2535:155178,2542:155780,2550:156554,2561:157242,2574:157930,2583:159478,2618:165900,2669:167850,2720:168240,2727:168500,2732:168760,2739:169605,2759:169995,2769:170970,2792:173050,2840:173765,2853:174220,2861:174480,2866:174805,2872:179162,2908:179770,2918:181366,2941:181898,2950:182734,2964:183114,2970:183646,2979:184330,2989:184634,2994:188890,3115:189346,3122:189650,3127:196072,3170:196588,3178:197362,3188:199856,3241:200286,3247:201232,3261:206842,3307:211706,3433:212154,3442:212858,3456:220558,3559:222880,3597:223396,3604:227954,3688:228986,3701:230190,3720:234972,3749:235387,3755:235802,3764:236134,3769:237758,3778:238148,3784:238694,3794:242204,3890:242750,3899:248094,3953:248591,3984:249301,3997:250437,4022:250721,4028:251786,4071:254413,4109:254839,4116:255691,4166:267380,4287
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Aja Graydon's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Aja Graydon lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Aja Graydon describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Aja Graydon talks about her maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Aja Graydon describes her mother's career

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Aja Graydon talks about her mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Aja Graydon describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Aja Graydon remembers her paternal grandmother

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Aja Graydon talks about her father's imprisonment and career

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Aja Graydon talks about her father's occupation

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Aja Graydon recalls how her parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Aja Graydon describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Aja Graydon talks about her early household

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Aja Graydon describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Aja Graydon describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Aja Graydon remembers the black culture in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Aja Graydon describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Aja Graydon describes the geography of Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Aja Graydon remembers her teachers at Robert Brent Elementary School in Washington, D.C., pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Aja Graydon remembers her teachers at Robert Brent Elementary School in Washington, D.C., pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Aja Graydon describes the Children's Urban Arts Ensemble

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Aja Graydon recalls attending the Maret School in Washington, D.C., pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Aja Graydon recalls attending the Maret School, Washington, D.C., pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Aja Graydon talks about her family's move to Alexandria, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Aja Graydon describes her favorite musical artists

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Aja Graydon recalls the start of her career

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Aja Graydon describes her first record deal with Delicious Vinyl in 1994

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Aja Graydon talks about her challenges in high school

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Aja Graydon recalls working with songwriter Eugene Hanes

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Aja Graydon describes her experiences as a young songwriter

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Aja Graydon describes meeting and working with her husband Fatin Dantzler

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Aja Graydon recalls performing at the Black Lily showcase at Five Spot in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Aja Graydon talks about the significance of the Black Lily showcase

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Aja Graydon describes her first project with Hidden Beach Recordings

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Aja Graydon describes the first Kindred the Family Soul album, 'Surrender to Love'

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Aja Graydon remembers the song and music video for 'Far Away'

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Aja Graydon talks about her musical influences

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Aja Graydon remembers the creative disagreements while recording 'Surrender to Love'

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Aja Graydon describes the accomplishments of Kindred the Family Soul

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Aja Graydon recalls the closing of Five Spot in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Aja Graydon talks about the second Kindred the Family Soul album, 'In This Life Together'

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Aja Graydon describes the influence of the song "My Time"

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Aja Graydon recalls the birth of her twins

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Aja Graydon describes the third Kindred the Family Soul album, 'The Arrival'

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Aja Graydon remembers the 2008 presidential election of Barack Obama

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Aja Graydon describes her family's web show 'Six Is It'

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Aja Graydon talks about the challenges of raising a family as a performing artist

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Aja Graydon describes the Cedar Park neighborhood in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Aja Graydon talks about the fourth Kindred Family Soul album 'Love Has No Recession'

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Aja Graydon describes her future plans

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Aja Graydon recalls founding the media company, Media Shack

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Aja Graydon shares her views on contemporary music

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Aja Graydon describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Aja Graydon reflects upon her life

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Aja Graydon reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Aja Graydon describes her children

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Aja Graydon shares a story about her wedding ring

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Aja Graydon describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

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Aja Graydon recalls performing at the Black Lily showcase at Five Spot in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Aja Graydon describes the Cedar Park neighborhood in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Transcript
Tell us about the Black Lily. Now, this is important in the development of y- of you two and a lot of other artists, right?$$Yes.$$And, this is a venue [Five Spot] here in Philadelphia [Pennsylvania]?$$Yes. It was. It started out like jam sessions and that's what carried me back and forth to Philly all the time, was that we were having these jam sessions every week at Ahmir Thompson's [Ahmir Khalib Thompson] house who was better known as Questlove from The Roots. And, he had a row house and we would just pack into his house and they would set up the, you know, drums, and keyboards and everything in his house. And, it started out like that. But, because they're a hip hop group, primarily it was a lot of guys that wanted to rap. So, it wasn't really a wealth of singers. And, singers it was harder for them to get on. And, singing freestyle is a lot, I wouldn't say more difficult, but it's just a different animal than just rapping. So, we had to, you know, jump in there whichever way we could. And, sometimes that meant, you know, singing the hooks for the raps they were doing or whatever the case may be. But, you know, I found it to be kind of exhilarating. I never felt like it was issue with, you know, "I can't get on." But, that was definitely an issue for some of the other artists, especially the female ones. And, so, they started this event called the Black Lily where they felt like okay, this is gonna be just our event for all the women. It was supposed to be like for women. And, at the time, even though I started out at the jam sessions, in the interim, Fatin [HistoryMaker Fatin Dantzler] and I got married, we had a baby [Aquil Dantzler], and our lives had changed. So, I wasn't, you know, there every Friday and all the time, you know, all that kind of stuff. I was starting a family. And, once we decided to really do music again, the Lily was kind of up and running. And, my husband was telling me about it and he went to go check it out, and said, "You know, you should go." So, my first time actually going to the Lily and performing there was by myself. And, was shortly, when my son was an infant. And, my husband stayed home with him and I went. And, it was semi-traumatic for me that first time just being away from my baby and just hadn't been really singing in a long time. But, it was a, the bug kind of hit, bit again and it was really cool. So, once we really decided we were gonna start a group, it just made sense that we would do this weekly event. And, because I was a girl, then it made it okay for my husband to be there too. So, that's how it started. But, performing there every week, you know, performing every week just polishes you. There's no way around it. Doing anything consistent just makes you better. And, as we pull together a band, and he had this vision of this big like, War, Earth, Wind and Fire type thing and I was just like, "He's crazy." Like I didn't know what he was doing. But, I was glad that he did it. Because the sound was so unique to anyone else that was on the show. Already we were husband and wife team, and that in and of itself was just like something that nobody from our generation was even thinking about doing. And, then the fact that we had the ten piece band and we had four background singers, and four horns, and it was just like (laughter), just a gazillion people on this tiny little stage. And, you know, college students and you know, bohemes or whatever you wanna call 'em, came out every week to support us, even though none of us had record deals. None of us had records that were out. None of us had any of that. So, they supported us regardless. It was a really beautiful time.$Now, you still live in the community.$$Yes.$$I mean, as a, it's a neighborhood.$$Yeah.$$And--$$I got neighbors (laughter).$$You have neighbors and--$$And, block parties, and well, block captains, and all that, yeah. It's a Philly neighborhood where we live and we enjoy that. One of my husband's [HistoryMaker Fatin Dantzler] visions for the shop when we had the, when the shop was open, because we did eventually have to close the shop, but, when the shop was opened, he wanted to make the shop in the neighborhood. He wanted to improve the neighborhood. He's always been a neighborhood guy, you know. He's also the guy that people, "Hey," you know, he speaks to everybody, you know. Everybody knows him and he's walking down the street and he, he speaks to the, to, he speaks to the neighborhood drunk the same way he speaks to the block captain, you know what I'm saying. He speaks to those people the same. That's the, he does, you know, it's, so, he's always been that guy. So, he, that was his vision. So, we wanted to stay where we were. We wanted to live in the neighborhood and invest in that neighborhood and be a part of that, you know. Certainly, there are some days where, you know, you wish there was a big gate (laughter) around your house, you know. But, those days are not as often as you would think.$$Now, this, the neighborhood, do you still live in Cedar Park [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania]? Is that the name of this neighborhood?$$Um-hm.$$Okay. And--$$Now, that's the new neighborhood.$$Oh.$$That's the new name of it.$$Oh, what was the old name of it?$$Southwest Philly [Southwest Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania].$$Okay.$$(Laughter).$$Oh, somebody came up, I suppose, gentrifiers came up with the name Cedar Park.$$Yeah, probably. I mean, somewhere along the line it became Cedar Park. But, I've seen the neighborhood grow and change and, and you know, from a place where, you know, you wouldn't really wanna stand on the corner after a certain time. And, then now, it's just really much different. But, it's good. It's a good thing for the neighborhood to an extent, and it's a good thing for the people who live there. You just wanna maintain diversity and make sure that that stays there, 'cause that's the beauty of the neighborhood.$$Okay. There's a quote in here, I think from The Philadelphia Inquirer about your car being broken into five times I think.$$Yep.$$You know.$$I mean, my car has been broken into. People know what car we drive, you know. And, so, that doesn't always welcome people who care, or are grateful that you're there. They just, you know, but my husband, though it frustrates him, he always try to, gets me to be patient about certain things like that. Because he's always like, you know, "People in their desperation and what they don't have, you know, people steal because they don't have." And, you know, this was the speech he gave me after my son's bike was taken off the front porch or something like that, and, you know. And, I think, you know, living in an urban setting and, you know, you're always gonna have certain things that happen. But, we love it here and we enjoy being a part of a historical neighborhood, number one. And, having an older home that you have to give that care to, and it has all the character and the beauty, and the neighborhood has its story. And, as you been there and you've been there over time and you become a staple of the community. You become a part of its history. And, as a family, that's who you are. And, now, that's really what's happened. I go into my coffee shop, into my cleaners, into my corner store (laughter), and it's all kinds of, the neighborhood grocery and all of that, and they know me and I enjoy that. I like that. I think that and, even with my dad [Richard Graydon] and his heart of hearts, that would make him proud because I think he would think, you know, I think he, he feels that that would be something that was be about how we were raised when we were kids, about being proud of where you're from and where you live. And, bringing up the people around you and that kind of thing, so, you know. That's not to say that we might not move to the suburbs one day (laughter). But, not if I have anything to say about it.

Quincy Jones

An impresario in the broadest and most creative sense of the word, Quincy Jones’ career has encompassed the roles of composer, record producer, artist, film producer, arranger, conductor, instrumentalist, television producer, record company executive, magazine founder and multi-media entrepreneur. As a master inventor of musical hybrids, he has shuffled pop, soul, hip-hop, jazz, classical, African and Brazilian music into many dazzling fusions, traversing virtually every medium, including records, live performance, movies and television.

Quincy Jones was born on March 14, 1933, in Chicago, Illinois, and brought up in Seattle, Washington. While in junior high school, Jones began studying trumpet and sang in a Gospel quartet at age twelve. His musical studies continued at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, where he remained until the opportunity arose to tour with Lionel Hampton’s band as a trumpeter, arranger and sometime-pianist. He moved on to New York and the musical “big leagues” in 1951, where his reputation as an arranger grew. By the mid-1950s, he was arranging and recording for such diverse artists as Sarah Vaughan, Ray Charles, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and Dinah Washington.

In 1957, Jones decided to continue his musical education by studying with Nadia Boulanger, the legendary Parisian tutor to American expatriate composers such as Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copeland. To subsidize his studies, he took a job with Barclay Disques, Mercury’s French distributor. Among the artists he recorded in Europe were Charles Aznavour, Jacques Brel and Henri Salvador, as well as such visitors from America as Sarah Vaughan, Billy Eckstine and Andy Williams. Jones’ love affair with European audiences continues through the present: in 1991, he began a continuing association with the Montreux Jazz and World Music Festival, which he serves as co-producer.

Jones won the first of his many Grammy Awards in 1963 for his Count Basie arrangement of “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” Jones’ three-year musical association as conductor and arranger with Frank Sinatra in the mid-1960s also teamed him with Basie for the classic Sinatra At The Sands, containing the famous arrangement of “Fly Me To The Moon.”

When he became vice-president at Mercury Records in 1961, Jones became the first high-level black executive of an established major record company. Toward the end of his association with the label, Jones turned his attention to another musical area that had been closed to blacks--the world of film scores. In 1963, he started work on the music for Sidney Lumet’s The Pawnbroker, and it was the first of his thirty-three major motion picture scores. In 1985, he co-produced Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, which won eleven Oscar nominations, introduced Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey to film audiences, and marked Jones’ debut as a film producer.

In 1990, Jones formed Quincy Jones Entertainment (QJE), a co-venture with Time Warner, Inc. The new company, which Jones served as CEO and chairman, produced NBC Television’s Fresh Prince Of Bel Air (now in syndication), and UPN’s In The House and Fox Television’s Mad TV. He is also the publisher of VIBE Magazine (as well as founder), SPIN and Blaze magazines. Also in 1990, his life and career were chronicled in the critically acclaimed Warner Bros. film, Listen Up: The Lives of Quincy Jones, produced by Courtney Sale Ross.

In 1994, Quincy Jones led a group of businessmen, including Hall of Fame football player Willie Davis, television producer Don Cornelius, television journalist Geraldo Rivera and businesswoman Sonia Gonsalves Salzman in the formation of Qwest Broadcasting, a minority controlled broadcasting company which purchased television stations in Atlanta and New Orleans for approximately $167 million, establishing it as one of the largest minority owned broadcasting companies in the United States. Quincy served as chairman and CEO of Qwest Broadcasting. In 1999, taking advantage of the rapid escalation of broadcast station values, Jones and his partners sold Qwest Broadcasting for a reported $270 million. In 1997, Quincy Jones formed the Quincy Jones Media Group.

The laurels, awards and accolades have been innumerable: Quincy has won an Emmy Award for his score of the of the opening episode of the landmark TV miniseries, Roots, seven Oscar nominations, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, twenty-seven Grammy Awards, and N.A.R.A.S.’ prestigious Trustees’ Award and The Grammy Living Legend Award. He is the all-time most nominated Grammy artist with a total of seventy-nine Grammy nominations. In 1990, France recognized Jones with its most distinguished title, the Legion d’ Honneur. He is also the recipient of the French Ministry of Culture’s Distinguished Arts and Letters Award. Jones is the recipient of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music’s coveted Polar Music Prize and the Republic of Italy’s Rudolph Valentino Award. He is also the recipient of honorary doctorates from Howard University, the Berklee College of Music, Seattle University, Wesleyan University, Brandeis University, Loyola University (New Orleans), Clark Atlanta University, Claremont University’s Graduate School, the University of Connecticut, Harvard University, Tuskeegee University, New York University, University of Miami and The American Film Institute. Jones was also named a 2001 Kennedy Center Honoree, for his contributions to the cultural fabric of the United States of America.

In 2001, Quincy Jones added the title “Best Selling Author” to his list of accomplishments when his autobiography Q: The Autobiography of Quincy Jones entered the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal Best-Sellers lists. Rhino Records released a four CD boxed set of Jones’ music, spanning his more than five decade career in the music business, entitled Q: The Musical Biography of Quincy Jones.

Celebrating more than fifty years performing and being involved in music, Jones’ creative magic has spanned over six decades, beginning with the music of the post-swing era and continuing through today’s high-technology, international multi-media hybrids. In the mid-1950s, he was the first popular conductor-arranger to record with a Fender bass. His theme from the hit TV series Ironside was the first synthesizer-based pop theme song. As the first black composer to be embraced by the Hollywood establishment in the 1960s, he helped refresh movie music with badly needed infusions of jazz and soul. His landmark 1989 album, Back On The Block--named “Album Of The Year” at the 1990 Grammy Awards-- brought such legends as Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Miles Davis together with Ice T, Big Daddy Kane and Melle Mel to create the first fusion of the be bop and hip hop musical traditions; while his 1993 recording of the critically acclaimed Miles and Quincy Live At Montreux, featured Jones conducting Miles Davis’ live performance of the historic Gil Evans arrangements from the Miles Ahead, Porgy and Bess and Sketches of Spain sessions, garnered a Grammy Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Performance. As producer and conductor of the historic “We Are The World” recording (the best-selling single of all time) and Michael Jackson’s multi-platinum solo albums, Off The Wall, Bad and Thriller (the best selling album of all time, with over forty-six million copies sold), Jones stands as one of the most successful and admired creative artists/executives in the entertainment world.

Accession Number

A2007.340

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/27/2007

Last Name

Jones

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

James A. Garfield High School

First Name

Quincy

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

JON18

Favorite Season

None

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

3/14/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Music composer and arranger, musician, and music producer Quincy Jones (1933 - ) has encompassed the roles of composer, record producer (#1 album of all time Thriller), artist (his albums include The Dude and Q's Jook Joint), film producer (The Color Purple), arranger, conductor, instrumentalist, television producer (Fresh Prince of Bel Air), record company executive, magazine founder (Vibe) and multi-media entrepreneur.

Employment

Mercury Records

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
0,0:5104,295:73950,1219:74925,1285:82934,1403:83930,1418:85175,1455:94502,1596:119418,2304:120282,2334:156990,2794$0,0:2225,25:21360,408:40249,689:49877,921:50458,929:62792,1067:67592,1109:73928,1257:87270,1409:87872,1431:89678,1464:101796,1613:111312,1888:124292,2062:135740,2189:145532,2479:145872,2485:150690,2602:167210,2831:188366,3247:205237,3488:210583,3568:217549,3736:226380,3804
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - 'An Evening With Quincy Jones' opens with credits

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - 'An Evening With Quincy Jones' opens with an introduction of host, HistoryMaker Gwen Ifill

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Gwen Ifill introduces Quincy Jones

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Quincy Jones talks about growing up in Chicago, Illinois and Seattle, Washington

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Quincy Jones remembers discovering his love of music during his youth in Seattle, Washington

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Quincy Jones recalls the music industry and important recording artists of his youth

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Quincy Jones shares his memories of Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington and Frank Sinatra

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Lesley Gore performs 'It's My Party' to honor Quincy Jones' career at Mercury Records

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Quincy Jones talks about producing 'It's My Party' at Mercury Records

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Quincy Jones talks about moving from jazz into pop

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Quincy Jones describes his career writing scores for film and television

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - HistoryMaker Bebe Winans performs Quincy Jones' 'Everything Must Change'

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Quincy Jones talks about suffering two brain aneurysms in 1974

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Quincy Jones talks about his admiration for Miles Davis

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - HistoryMaker James Ingram performs Quincy Jones' song 'Just Once'

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Bobby McFerrin and HistoryMaker Herbie Hancock perform a medley of Michael Jackson songs to honor Quincy Jones

Tape: 1 Story: 17 - Quincy Jones reflects upon his enduring success in the music industry

Tape: 1 Story: 18 - HistoryMaker Herbie Hancock plays a piano instrumental to honor Quincy Jones

Tape: 1 Story: 19 - Quincy Jones reflects upon his life

Tape: 1 Story: 20 - 'An Evening With Quincy Jones' concludes with a group performance of 'I'll Be Good to You'

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Quincy Jones remembers discovering his love of music during his youth in Seattle, Washington
Quincy Jones recalls the music industry and important recording artists of his youth
Transcript
Tell me about lemon meringue pie and juke joints.$$Right across the street from our house was the [U.S.] Army camp [sic. Naval Station Bremerton and Naval Submarine Base Bangor; Naval Base Kitsap, Washington] with the barbed wire, fifty-caliber machine guns and there was a big armory next door that was our recreation hall for all of the whole community. And we had inside tracks on everything. You know, I'm telling you, we had our stuff together. And we heard that there was some lemon meringue pie was being shipped in on Monday (audience laughter) and some chocolate and vanilla ice cream. So we were ready on arrival. And we broke in there and ate as much as we could, and then we had pie fights. And I went and broke open the superintendent's office and saw a little spinet piano over in the corner and was getting ready to close the door 'cause it didn't look valuable to me. You know, I didn't know people played them. And somebody said, "Fool, go back," God's whisper, said go back in that room now (laughter). And I went back in there, and I slowly went over to that piano and touched it with my fingers. And every cell in my body said, this is what you'll do the rest of your life. And that, and that one move, it changed everything in my whole life, you know.$$Music for you was an escape. It was your form of rebellion.$$But music was more than an escape. It was a mother. I started out in Seattle [Washington] when you had to play a white tennis club dinner, with white cardigan jackets, and play dance music and so forth. Then we changed our uniforms and go to the black clubs, The Rocking Chair [Seattle, Washington] and the Washington Educational Social Club [sic. Washington Social and Educational Club, Seattle, Washington]. What a joke (laughter). And the proprietor was Reverend Silas Groves, please. Bring your own bottles--$$(Laughter).$$--play for strippers. We'd do comedy acts. Man, we'd do the works, steal--all the comics who'd come through there, we'd steal all their material, and (unclear), do all these nasty jokes. And we--wasn't supposed to be in clubs. I was thirteen, you know.$$Yeah.$$So we pretended like we're smoking and everything so we could get in the clubs and it was just lucky that the teachers didn't--I had one teacher, Parker Cook, that saved my life, 'cause he said, "You're doing what you're supposed to be doing," 'cause I didn't get finished playing till 5:30 in the morning. And I couldn't--[James A.] Garfield High School [Seattle, Washington] was right across the street, you know. That's where Jimi Hendrix went to. And I couldn't get there till eleven sometimes, you know, but he supported me though (laughter). In fact, I saw, I thought I saw him up there in one of those joints a couple of times (laughter).$Did it ever occur to you that you were in the middle of something revolutionary?$$No way. We were just--Ray Charles came to town. I was fourteen. I was, I couldn't believe him, you know. He came in, and he was sixteen or seventeen, but he was like a hundred years older than me because I was still staying at home with eight kids, you know, and two parents [Quincy Jones, Sr. and Sarah Wells Jones], and this raggedy stepmother [Elvera Jones]. And he had two suits, his own record player, two girlfriends, everything. I mean I couldn't believe it, and I was around him. I didn't do it like (unclear) did. I wasn't like that at all. And I wrote the dialogue for that, but I wasn't like that at all. In movies, they have to make up stuff, you know. This little cat was loud and cocky and talked. I never talked at all when I was little. I shut up and listened, 'cause I was around guys who knew what they were talking about, like [Count] Basie and Clark Terry. And there's one thing that Ray and I used to say every day to keep from being affected by the climate in this country at that time, and that, "Not one drop of my self-worth depends on your acceptance of me," 'cause we never wanted to--(applause), we never wanted an external force to decide what your identity was about. And we were really, really, really, really cognizant of that. And we stuck to it 'cause Ray was strong, boy. He says, "I'm gonna have three of my own planes in twenty years." In 1968, he had three planes, and Ray went, he'd land--he knew how to deal with money, everything because in the beginning, we didn't think about money or fame. We didn't--like today, the bling bling, forget that.$$There was no money.$$There was no bling bling (laughter). The biggest joke on Broadway when we were out there starving to death was in front of the Brill Building [New York, New York] was you'd see somebody being held by their ankles out of the thirty-three-story window, and the overcoat hanging all over his head. And they'd say, "What's that going on up there?" They said, "That's Jackie Wilson renegotiating his contract (laughter)."$$(Laughter).$$All of the booking agencies, the nightclubs, record companies, everything--were all owned by the gangsters, everything, the Copacabana [New York, New York], the Chez Paree [Chicago, Illinois], (unclear) and Fish [ph.] and stuff and boy, between them, Chicago [Illinois] and [Frank] Sinatra, I met all of 'em.$$Tell us the story of the first time you met Charlie ["Bird"] Parker.$$Oh, I almost had a heart attack, but you know, we're so--Bird was never aware that anybody was around 'cause he was, unfortunately, what happened, he came from Jay McShann's band. Dizzy [Gillespie] came from Cab Calloway's band, and they had this new idea, but they did not wanna be entertainers anymore. They didn't wanna have to roll their eyes or dance or entertain and dance for anybody anymore. Louis [Armstrong] had to do it, and I'll defend Louis to death 'cause Louis did what he had to do, and if it wasn't for Louis, we wouldn't be here. (Applause) Everybody did what they did and it's a sociological music. That's what I try to tell my brothers all the time. Man, you can't say to throw jazz and blues away just for hip hop because it's all part of a--made millions of people's sociological experience, a terrible one. And for the '50s [1950s] and '60s [1960s] black artists got wasted. I'm telling you. You cannot believe what I've--I'd record with LaVern Baker, they'd send the arrangement over to the other side of town. Georgia Gibbs would copy it. Fats Domino would do his tune. Pat Boone would take it on the other side and it was split--the markets were split in the black and white markets, you know. So, now, please, yeah what would Jay-Z make now?

James Ingram

R&B vocalist James Ingram was born on February 16, 1952, in Akron, Ohio to Alistine and Henry Ingram. Ingram was interested in music at an early age and became a self-taught musician, inspired by his musical idol, jazz organist Jimmy Smith. In the 1970s, Ingram began performing in the Akron band Revelation Funk under leader John Birkett and alongside Bernard Lawson, Sr. The group opened for the Ohio Players and performed with a variety of other Akron funk bands, including Axis and the Silky Vincent Group.

In 1973, when Ingram was seventeen years old, the group traveled to Los Angeles, California, hoping to find further opportunities to perform. Although the group met with some success, recording the track “Time is on Our Side” for the soundtrack to the film Dolemite, the band was unable to sustain itself, and the group returned to Ohio. Ingram stayed behind, playing music around Los Angeles and eventually performing backup vocals and playing keyboards for Ray Charles. Ingram’s career as a musician began to take off, and in the mid-1970s, he began working as soul artist Leon Haywood’s musical director.

In the late 1970s, Ingram had a reputation for his work as a studio session vocalist in Los Angeles, and soon grabbed the ear of legendary ex-Motown songwriter Lamont Dozier. Dozier offered Ingram the opportunity to contribute vocals and material for some of his releases, and Ingram’s “Love’s Calling” gained some airplay. Another musical legend, composer and musical director, Quincy Jones, heard a demo of Ingram performing a track entitled “Just Once,” and quickly offered the singer the opportunity to perform on his 1980 album The Dude. “Just Once,” re-recorded with Quincy Jones, became Ingram’s first massive hit, winning Ingram Grammy Awards for Best Male Pop Vocal and Best R&B Vocal, as well as a nomination for Best New Artist.

Ingram signed to Quincy Jones’s Qwest Records and recorded his own solo material with production work from Jones, and, in 1982, released his first solo single, “One Hundred Ways.” The song reached #14 on the U.S. charts. After co-writing Michael Jackson’s hit “P.Y.T.,” Ingram released his debut album It’s Your Night in 1983, selling 850,000 copies and working with such musical artists as Ray Charles, Michael McDonald, Patti Austin, Anita Baker, Nancy Wilson and Kenny Rogers. Ingram joined another large group of popular artists in performing on the 1985 record “We are the World,” the same year as he was awarded a Grammy Award for his Michael McDonald duet “Yah Mo B There.”

In 1986, Ingram’s second album Never Felt So Good was released alongside the singles “Always” and “Never Felt So Good.” He joined singer Linda Ronstadt for 1987’s gold-selling hit “Somewhere Out There,” and released his third album, entitled It’s Real, on Warner Brothers in 1989. The album featured the hit title track, written by legendary songwriter Thom Bell.

In 1990, Ingram appeared on Quincy Jones’ R&B mega-ballad “The Secret Garden,” and one year later released his own greatest hits disc entitled The Power of Music. In 1993, Ingram released his fourth LP, Always You and continued writing and performing individual singles throughout the 1990s. In 1999, Ingram released Forever More: The Best of James Ingram, and in 2006, participated in Celebrity Duets, a reality television program.

Ingram continues to perform annually on the “Colors of Christmas” Tour and regularly tours throughout southeast Asia, where he is one of the most popular U.S. artists to this day.

Ingram passed away on January 29, 2019.

Accession Number

A2007.272

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/25/2007

Last Name

Ingram

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Robinson Community Learning Center

East High School

First Name

James

Birth City, State, Country

Akron

HM ID

ING03

Favorite Season

Holiday Season

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

Home

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

2/16/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Salmon

Death Date

1/29/2019

Short Description

Musician, songwriter, and R & B singer James Ingram (1952 - ) was a multiple Grammy Award winner. Some of Ingram's hit songs included "Just Once," "Yah Mo B There;" he also co-wrote Michael Jackson's "P.Y.T."

Employment

Sharp and the G Clefts

Revelation Funk

Different Bag

Ford Motor Company

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of James Ingram's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - James Ingram lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - James Ingram describes his parents' family backgrounds

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - James Ingram describes his religious upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - James Ingram describes his early interest in music

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - James Ingram describes his siblings' musical interests

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - James Ingram describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - James Ingram describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - James Ingram remembers celebrating the holidays with his family

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - James Ingram describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - James Ingram describes his early education

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - James Ingram describes his musical interests at East High School in Akron, Ohio

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - James Ingram talks about his early bands

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - James Ingram remembers his music lessons

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - James Ingram talks about his older brother's musical talent

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - James Ingram describes his involvement in his church choir

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - James Ingram describes his decision to pursue music as a career

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - James Ingram talks about his band, Revelation Funk

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - James Ingram describes his family's civil rights involvement

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - James Ingram explains the meaning behind 'Yah Mo B There'

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - James Ingram describes his spirituality

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - James Ingram recalls performing in Revelation Funk

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - James Ingram talks about his wife

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - James Ingram recalls touring Japan with A Different Bag

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - James Ingram remembers his bandmates

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - James Ingram describes his collaboration with Ray Charles

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - James Ingram remembers meeting Quincy Jones

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - James Ingram remembers winning a Grammy Award for 'Just Once'

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - James Ingram remembers working with Dick Clark

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - James Ingram recalls recording 'Just Once' with Quincy Jones

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - James Ingram describes his tour with Quincy Jones and Patti Austin

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - James Ingram remembers winning his first Grammy Award

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - James Ingram describes Quincy Jones' influence on his career

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - James Ingram talks about his experiences of fame

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - James Ingram talks about his children

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - James Ingram describes his collaboration on Quincy Jones' album, 'The Dude'

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - James Ingram remembers touring with Patti LaBelle

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - James Ingram recalls writing 'P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)'

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - James Ingram remembers working with Michael Jackson

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - James Ingram talks about his vocal training

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - James Ingram describes his songwriting process

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - James Ingram reflects upon his musical influences

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - James Ingram remembers recording 'We Are the World'

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - James Ingram describes his collaborations with Harry Belafonte

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - James Ingram recalls recording 'How Do You Keep the Music Playing'

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - James Ingram reflects upon his international success

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - James Ingram talks about his tours abroad

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - James Ingram remembers writing 'The Day I Fall in Love'

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - James Ingram talks about his Academy Award nominations

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - James Ingram recalls singing the theme song for 'An American Tail'

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - James Ingram remembers performing with Linda Ronstadt and Natalie Cole

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - James Ingram reflects upon his musical influences

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - James Ingram describes his collaboration with Keith Diamond

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - James Ingram recalls collaborating with Kenny Rogers and Kim Carnes

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - James Ingram remembers his third album, 'It's Real'

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - James Ingram reflects upon the success of his mentors

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - James Ingram remembers his manager, Dick Scott

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - James Ingram remembers Gerald Levert and Eddie Levert

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - James Ingram describes his collaboration on 'The Secret Garden'

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - James Ingram talks about his album 'The Greatest Hits'

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - James Ingram describes his talk show appearances

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - James Ingram reflects upon his personal success

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - James Ingram reflects upon his career success

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - James Ingram describes his collaborations with Debbie Allen

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - James Ingram talks about his album, 'Stand (In the Light)'

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - James Ingram describes his philanthropic work

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - James Ingram reflects upon his musical influences

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - James Ingram reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - James Ingram reflects upon his music

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - James Ingram describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - James Ingram shares a message to future generations

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

3$2

DATitle
James Ingram describes his decision to pursue music as a career
James Ingram describes his collaboration with Ray Charles
Transcript
When did you decide, I'm going to be a professional musician?$$A professional musician? When we had, as the band, we had, when we developed later on before I left Akron, Ohio. I graduated in 1970 [from East High School; East Community Learning Center, Akron, Ohio], but I left Ohio in '73 [1973] to come to California with my band, Revelation Funk. Well I joined another band because the other band, they were working and they had families in Akron, Ohio and they were not leaving to go on the road. So we started traveling to New York [New York] and different places and I was making like maybe $150 a week when we split up our money and we were working Monday through Saturday playing four hours, right? Okay, now in between that I got a job at Ford Motors [Ford Motor Company], where my father [Henry Ingram, Sr.] was working at, at the time, he got me a job and I made basically the same money and I was in there eight hours for five days a week so that was like forty hours and make the same money. And so while I'm doing this work, I'm thinking about music and everything and I'm saying wait a minute, hold on, I worked twenty-four hours and made the same money. What is this, 'cause I didn't know exactly about no music business and that I could make a living at it right cause Akron, Ohio was a small city and there was nothing around for me to see. Like if you're in Detroit [Michigan] and Motown [Motown Records] was there, you would have ambitions probably of you know how you could do that, right? It dawned on me, said, "I'm leaving. I'm gonna go on the road. I'm gonna get with a band." We were on the road so we formed a band. And I worked for maybe about six months. And when the people at, that was working at Ford, some of those brothers I knew, when you worked, put your ninety days in right, they was buying like Cadillac cars and a Deuce and a Quarter [Buick Electra] and all that. And so they asked me what was I doing with my money? I said, "I'm buying equipment." "Equipment?" "Yeah, I'm buying speakers and clavinet and another electric piano and all that stuff (unclear)." Say, "Man, for what?" I said, "I'm going on the road." "Aw man, the benefits we have. You going--man you ain't going nowhere." And one day they were coming in and I was leaving out. I said, "I'll see y'all later." But I left in a way that the general foreman there, that--because my work ethics were impeccable because when you went into the department you worked on the jobs. You could pick what job you want to. I could just put things like you're stamping out metal and just--you know what I'm saying? I took the hardest job in there which is on the pan line where the pans came out and you had to lift these things with somebody else on the other side right, cause I figure if I'm going to be there for eight hours, I want to do something that's gonna help me stay in shape. So I went that route until I got out of there.$At what point did you meet Ray Charles?$$That had to be in 19--1976, somewhere around there.$$And tell me about that encounter. How did you meet?$$I met him because my brother Henry Ingram [Henry Ingram, Jr.], my oldest brother was living in Los Angeles, California. And he had a friend that we knew from Chicago [Illinois] that came through our hometown in Akron, Ohio, extremely talented. His name was Larry Woods. And so Larry Woods came to our apartment with my brother and he was telling me, I need to turn you on to Joe Webster 'cause you know, he knew I could write. You know by this time I was writing songs and doing things and stuff. He said I need to turn you on to Joe Webster. Joe Webster was Mabel John's [HistoryMaker Reverend Dr. Mable John] son who was one of the background singers in Ray Charles' studio and he was signed to Ray Charles' label [Tangerine Records]. So Joe and I we met and we hit it off and we started writing songs together. So then I started coming to the studio and singing backgrounds with him you know. I could at least sing backgrounds you know and playing some of the instruments. But one of the tracks I had a click track and I played the drums and I played the bass and I played the keyboards. So the engineer told Ray, you got to see this dude, he can--you know what I'm saying, he's real talented and stuff. So Ray heard me and that's how I got the chance to play organ on 'I Can See Clearly' ['I Can See Clearly Now'] and 'Anonymous Love.'$$What did he say when he heard you for the first time, Ray Charles?$$He said, "Son, you talented." I said I don't know, I'm just here Ray. And, but Ray liked my personality and sometimes he would just like, he would have the engineer call for me just to be around even when I wasn't working because he--Ray was giving me a lot of information not only about the music industry but about you know, about techniques. I saw Ray Charles, which I don't know most engineers could do this. Back then they weren't cutting with click tracks, click tracks you know the drummer would listen to it and it would keep the tempo steady all the way through the song. So naturally the song would speed up a little bit you know just through naturally playing right? Ray had a track like that where he took--I saw him, supposed to be blind right, and of course he was right? The engineer wasn't even there. It was him. I was in the studio with him. And he took the horn parts and flew them over to a half inch tape right, and sent them back to the back of the track even though the track was going faster, an eighth note at a time on different tracks and he put them together. Ray Charles did that. He'd walk all over there. He'd walk out there to the mic [microphone] by himself and all that. Ray Charles not hand- he was not handicapped. He was not handicapped.$$He had a sense, he could see with his mind.$$Right. Right, I don't even know how to explain it but--$$And what did you learn from him?$$He was deaf on drummers. Your timing had to be impeccable, right. And it wasn't like I was a great drummer, but my time was impeccable. So what happened was he heard about, from the engineers, that I fixed a track that the track had sped up right. And so I had to learn where the track was, where it sped up and kept--until I got it and then I got it. So Ray had a track that needed fixed and so they called me to fix that track. So I was in there with Ray and I found out exactly where the tape, it was kind of speeding up, where the musician kind of sped up and it was kind of slowing down and I finally caught it and I had the groove right. Once we got finished, Ray said, "You know what, you did a good job, but I'm going to scrap this." He said, "We're going to cut this all over." So they had a bossa nova, a thing that had these little beats, right? And this was pre-drum machines and all that stuff in terms of the (unclear) and all that stuff. So he said we're going to cut it over. Ray went out there to the drum machine and put the keyboards down, right? And then he gave me the beat to play and I played the beat. Then Ray hummed all of the turnarounds for me to play. "(Scatting) No (scatting)," right, and we'd move on to the next one when I--until--you know what I'm saying? And he punched me in all the turnarounds. So I'm playing drums along with the track and you hear these--feels like I'm going to--you know what I'm saying, because that was the magic of recording.

Evelyn Freeman Roberts

Evelyn Freeman Roberts was born on February 13, 1919, to Gertrude Evelyn Richardson and Ernest Aaron Freeman. Roberts grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and performed music at local social events with "The Freeman Family," a group that included her brother, Ernie, and father. She also began performing locally in a classical ensemble. Roberts skipped school one day to watch Duke Ellington at Cleveland's Palace Theater and met Ellington after the performance. His music made a huge impact on Roberts, who decided at that moment that she wanted to be a bandleader. She was a bright student, and graduated ahead of her grade in 1936.

After auditioning for a scholarship at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Roberts decided to attend the Institute. Although she had less training than many of the students, Roberts had perfect pitch and was a talented sight-reader, and managed to work her way through school performing. Around 1938, she formed her own swing band, and their performances included a Cleveland Institute dance party. Roberts graduated from the Institute of Music in 1941, and as an African American, she saw no openings in classical music, so she began to focus more on her band's work.

Her group, now titled the Evelyn Freeman Swing Band, had begun performing locally, including broadcasts on Cleveland's WHK radio station and performances for the local NBC affiliate. When World War II arrived, a Navy recruiter convinced the group to join the Navy as a whole, which prevented the draft from splitting the ensemble. As a result, they had become the first all-African American Navy band, were stationed near Peru, Indiana and were nicknamed the "Gobs of Swing." Roberts herself was not recruited, although she would be later as an 'honorary member,' but in the meantime she continued performing but with a smaller ensemble, which included such future jazz stars as Ben "Bull Moose" Jackson.

In 1945, after the war ended, Roberts left Cleveland after meeting Thomas S. Roberts, her future husband. Roberts met her husband after he sought her for some musical arrangements, although it took some time before they would become romantically involved. The couple soon moved to New York City, where Roberts received significant critical accolades for her vocal arrangements for the Wings over Jordan gospel group. She also began working with Vaudeville acts, then began performing in upscale hotels in New York City. In the meantime, much of her band, now discharged from the military, went on to significant success, including members who would go on to perform with Dizzy Gillespie and Lionel Hampton.

The Evelyn Freeman Orchestra would reform in the late 1950s with new members, and released Let’s Make a Little Motion. In 1960, she released Sky High, a new album, and in 1962 released Didn’t It Rain. In the late 1960s, she moved to California and masterminded a group called The Young Saints, and in 1970, the Young Saints performed for Richard Nixon in the White House. Roberts continued to perform over the years, including a lengthy stint as a composer for television, although she would often remain in the background as an arranger, including work for Bing Crosby, Dean Martin and Louis Prima. She was the co-founder and chief administrator for the Young Saints Scholarship Foundation.

Roberts passed away on June 5, 2017 at age 98.

Accession Number

A2006.056

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/31/2006

Last Name

Roberts

Maker Category
Middle Name

Freeman

Organizations
Schools

Central High School

Cleveland Institute of Music

John Burroughs Elementary School

First Name

Evelyn

Birth City, State, Country

Cleveland

HM ID

ROB12

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Education Is The Key To Success.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

2/13/1919

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Shrimp

Death Date

6/5/2017

Short Description

Bandleader, music composer, and musician Evelyn Freeman Roberts (1919 - 2017 ) formed the Evelyn Freeman Orchestra and composed music for television shows.

Employment

Young Saints

Evelyn Freeman Swing Band

Karamu House

Wings Over Jordan

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Evelyn Freeman Roberts' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts lists her parents' birthdates and birthplaces

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts talks about her maternal great grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts describes her maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts describes her maternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts describes her mother's family

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts recalls visiting her maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts describes her maternal grandmother's country store

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts describes her mother's experience at boarding school

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts describes her mother's education

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts describes how her parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts describes her paternal great grandfather

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts describes her paternal grandparents' courtship

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts describes her father's time at Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts describes her parents' married life

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts lists her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts describes her father's occupations

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts recalls her father's music career

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts remembers John Burroughs Elementary School

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts describes Cleveland, Ohio's Central High School

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts describes the demographics of Central High School

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts recalls her decision to attend Cleveland Institute of Music

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts recalls her experience at Cleveland Institute of Music

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts recalls her brothers' educations

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts talks about her brother, Ernest Freeman, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts recalls playing concerts with her family in Cleveland

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts remembers meeting Duke Ellington

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts recalls forming the Evelyn Freeman Swing Band

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts recalls how her swing band was recruited to the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts recalls her career after her swing band's military recruitment

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts recalls meeting her husband

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts recalls arranging for the Wings Over Jordan Choir

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts recalls her work arranging music in New York

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts recalls her marriage to Lloyd Gentry

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts explains her relation to Minnie Gentry and Terrence Howard

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts remembers buying a house in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts remembers touring with her children, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts recalls touring with her children, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts remembers moving to Los Angeles, California

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts recalls challenges in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts remembers working with Peggy Lee

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts recalls performing on 'The Jonathan Winters Show'

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts recalls the Young Saints' performance on 'The Andy Griffith Show'

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts recalls working with Frankie Laine

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts recalls working with Louis Prima

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts remembers forming the Young Saints

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts recalls the Young Saints' contract with Ashley-Famous talent agency

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts recalls the Young Saints' performance on 'The Danny Kaye Show'

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts recalls her classes for the Model Cities program

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts describes the Young Saints program at Second Baptist Church

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts talks about the success of the Young Saints

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts describes her family's involvement in the Young Saints

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts recalls the Young Saints' performance at the White House, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts recalls the Young Saints' performance at the White House, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts reflects upon her career

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Evelyn Freeman Roberts narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

2$3

DATitle
Evelyn Freeman Roberts remembers meeting Duke Ellington
Evelyn Freeman Roberts recalls forming the Evelyn Freeman Swing Band
Transcript
Now we're coming up to the place, back up to the place now where you're graduating from the institute [Cleveland Institute of Music, Cleveland, Ohio].$$But before that, let's back up again--$$All right.$$--to 1936. I'm graduating, and I'm so far ahead I could have graduated in January when I was sixteen. But I didn't want to graduate in January. That's a bad time to graduate. So I wanted to wait until June to graduate. And so, in the meantime, I have this very light class load. And kids are always going down, going onto the Palace Theatre in Cleveland [Ohio], and that's where all the big bands came to play.$$Right.$$I had never been. And they always come back on Monday, you know, and give a detailed description of everything that went on. So I was curious, and just happened the, the one day that, one Friday that I decided to skip school, Duke Ellington was playing.$$All right.$$That completely changed my life, completely. I was so enthralled when I heard that band. And so after I heard the band, I went backstage and, and a lot of people milling around back there. And you know, when you graduate they, you have these little calling cards, you know, with your name on it.$$Right.$$I sent it up by the elevator boy, and Duke invited me to come up and see him. So I did; I went up to see Duke. Duke had his son with him, Mercer [Mercer Ellington].$$Right.$$And I, I didn't have anything to talk about (laughter), you know.$$Right.$$But I just--and I remember asking Mercer if he was gonna be a musician, and he said, "Oh no, I'm gonna be an engineer," (laughter). And so I met Da- Duke many times after that, and I never did tell him but how he changed my life.$$Now why did Duke Ellington make such an impact? What--$$It was just (simultaneous)--$$--(simultaneous) was it that impacted--$$--the music--$$Just his music.$$--and the way it sounded.$$Okay.$$And I, that was when I decided right then and there I wanna be a bandleader.$$All right, okay.$$And that was a very important turning point in my life.$$Okay. And this was how long before you actually graduated from the institute.$$Oh, this is, this is when I was graduating from high school [Central High School, Cleveland, Ohio]--$$Okay.$$--nineteen thirty-six [1936].$$Okay.$$So I didn't graduate (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) So we're talking about five years--$$Oh yeah.$$--more--$$Well--$$--okay.$$--all my contemporaries, and there were some great musicians that came out of Cleveland [Ohio], you know.$$Right.$$Nobody wanted to be bothered with me.$All right (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) But what happened was, and one of the things that kind of hurried it along, my brother Ernie [Ernest Freeman, Jr.], the violin player, found an old saxophone way back in the closet that belonged to my father [Ernest Freeman, Sr.]. It was an E-flat alto Buescher. I don't even, I don't think they even me--make those kind of, that--he found that in, back in the saxophone and taught himself to play it.$$Right.$$Loved that saxophone because it gave him the freedom of expression he didn't have with the violin. And in playing the classical music, all of the brass players, in fact, everybody, had to play cues that for instruments we didn't have; like the clarinet players would have to play the oboe cues, and the brass would have to play French horn or whatever of the cues. So therefore, I had a bunch of kids who could read music. So I had, so I taken the brass section, and my burdit- my brother Ernie on first sax and a couple of more sax, and we had the bass player, got a drummer. We had a swing band--$$Okay.$$--Evelyn Freeman Swing Band. And in two years' time (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) But when did, when did you form the Evelyn Freeman Swing Band?$$That was formed out of the Freeman Ensemble.$$Okay.$$So we still had, we had two organizations going at the same time.$$Okay, so you were still in high school [Central High School, Cleveland, Ohio] you're saying?$$Nope, I was in, at the institute--$$Okay.$$--by that time.$$Okay, when you formed the swing band.$$Well, when we actually got started, I guess it would be about, about 1938.$$Okay, okay, so we are, you're just in the first year or two--$$Second year (simultaneous).$$--(simultaneous) at the institute?$$Yeah.$$Okay, all right.$$And we even played, we even played for a dance at the institute.$$I'm sorry?$$We even played for a dance at the Cleveland Institute [Cleveland Institute of Music, Cleveland, Ohio].$$At the Cle- at the institute, okay. I'm just trying to get us in the right chronology, right (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, you looked at it chronologically, yeah.