John Adam “Sleepy” Estes (1904-1977)

John Adam “Sleepy” Estes, born into a sharecropping family just outside of Ripley, Tennessee but raised in Brownsville, was a singer, guitarist, songwriter, and generally recognized as one of the most important artists in blues history. He got the nickname “Sleepy” from his frequent naps. … Read MoreJohn Adam “Sleepy” Estes (1904-1977)

Joseph William “Pinetop” Perkins (1913–2011)

Image Courtesy of Carl Lender (CC BY-SA 2.0) Delta blues and boogie-woogie piano master Willie “Pinetop” Perkins was born on the Honey Island plantation near Belzoni, Mississippi on July 7, 1913.  During his career, Perkins played with some of the best known blues and rock … Read MoreJoseph William “Pinetop” Perkins (1913–2011)

Coleman Hawkins (1904-1969)

Coleman Randolph Hawkins was born November 21, 1904, in Saint Joseph, Missouri.  He began his musical education early with lessons on both the piano and cello.  Despite parental encouragement towards more classic instruments, Hawkins focused on the saxophone after he received a “C melody” tenor … Read MoreColeman Hawkins (1904-1969)

Dizzy Gillespie (John Birks Gillespie) (1917-1993)

Jazz great Dizzy Gillespie had a long and distinguished musical career as a trumpeter, composer, and bandleader. Unlike many jazz musicians whose lives were cut tragically short, Gillespie’s career spanned the 1930s to the 1980s, from the big band swing era of the 1930s through … Read MoreDizzy Gillespie (John Birks Gillespie) (1917-1993)