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Part Ten

Moments to Remember: African American Pioneers in Music salutes men and women in the areas of the blues, jazz, classical, and gospel music from the 1900s to the 1950s. Their contributions are still significant today.

Ma Rainey (1886-1939) Known as “Mother of the Blues”

Mamie Smith (1883-1946) First singer to record the blues

Blind Lemon Jefferson (1897-1930) First male singer to record the blues

Sam “Lightning” Hopkins (1912-1982) First to record more albums than any other blues musicians.

Big Joe Turner (1911-1985) Known as the “Boss of the Blues”

Alberta Hunter (1895-1984) First singer to perform blues music in Europe

John Lee Hooker (1917 to 2001) First Delta bluesman to perform with an English rock band

Jelly Roll Morton (1890-1941) First to compose jazz music.

James Reese Europe (1881-1919) First to introduce American jazz in France during WWI

Eubie Blake (1883-1983) First composer for an African American musical on Broadway

James Price Johnson (1891- 1955) First to record a piano jazz solo

Edward Kid Ory (1886-1973) Leader of the first jazz band to make a record

Louis Armstrong (1898-1971) First trumpet soloist to also gain fame as a singer

Valaida Snow (1903-1956) First woman trumpet player, known as “Little Louis Armstrong”

Cora “Lovie” Austin (1887-1972) First woman to lead a jazz band

Thomas Green Bethune (1849-1909) First pianist to gain international fame in the mid 1800s

William Grant Still (1895-1978) First to conduct a major symphony

Florence Price (1887-1953) First woman to compose a major symphony

Harry Burleigh (1866- to 1949) First to arrange the Negro Spirituals

Roland Hayes (1887-1976) First to sing with a major symphony orchestra

Cartarina Jarbaro (1898-1986) First to perform with a major opera company in Europe

Todd Duncan (1903-1998) First to sing leading role with a major opera company

Ann Wiggins Brown (1915- ) First to play Bess in the production of Porgy and Bess

Charles Albert Tindley (1851-1933) First to publish and compose gospel songs

Lucie E. Campell (1885-1963) Early gospel composer

Thomas Dorsey (1899-1993) “Father of Gospel Music”

Sister Rosetta Tharpe (1915-1973) First gospel singer to sign with a major record label

Sallie Martin (1895-1988) First to create an all-female gospel group

Clara Ward (1924 - 1973) First gospel group to perform at Carnegie Hall

James Cleveland ( 1932-1991) 1950s “Crown Prince of Gospel”

 

 
 
 

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