Music

Composers, musicians, and singers who have contributed to this Black genre.

A versatile musician, Billy Preston


Billy Preston

*Billy Preston was born on this date in1946. He was an African American musician and singer.

From Houston, Texas, and raised mostly in Los Angeles, California. William Everett Preston in addition to his successful, Grammy-winning career as a solo artist, Preston collaborated with some of the greatest names in the music industry, including the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Little Richard, Ray Charles, George Harrison, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Sam Cooke, Sammy Davis Jr., Sly Stone, Aretha Franklin, the Jackson 5, Quincy Jones, and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

| More

Blues pioneer, Sonny Boy Williamson


Sonny Boy Williamson

*Sonny Boy Williamson was born on this date in 1914. He was an African American Blues musician.

| More

From the Delta to the world, Cassandra Wilson


Cassandra Wilson

*Cassandra Wilson was born on this date in 1955. She is an African American singer, and songwriter.

| More

Ornette Coleman, more than Jazz


Ornette Coleman

*Ornette Coleman was born on this date in 1930. He is an African American musician and composer.

| More

From "E" Street to the world, Clarence Clemons


Clarence Clemons, 2009

*Clarence Clemons was born on this date in 1942. He was an African American musician.

Clarence Anicholas Clemons was from Norfolk, VA. His father owned a fish market and his grandfather was a Southern Baptist preacher, and although he grew up surrounded by gospel music, the young Clemons was captivated by rock ’n’ roll. He was given an alto saxophone at age 9 as a Christmas gift; later, following the influence of King Curtis whose many credits include the jaunty sax part on the Coasters’ 1958 hit “Yakety Yak” he switched to the tenor.

| More

Terence Blanchard, a son of New Orleans


Terence Blanchard

*Terence Blanchard was born on this date in 1962. He is an African American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, composer, arranger, and film score composer.

| More

Dee Dee Bridgewater, a global performer


Dee Dee Bridgewater

*Dee Dee Bridgewater was born on this date in 1950. She is an African American singer, producer and actress. 

| More

Valerie Capers, musican and educator


Valerie Capers

*Valerie Capers was born on this date in 1935.  She is an African American musician and educator.

| More

Carlos Posadas, African influence in Tango


Carlos Posadas

*Carlos Posadas was born on this date in 1874. He was an Afro-Argentinean musician and composer.

| More

Mr. Piano, Billy Taylor


Billy Taylor

*Billy Taylor was born on this date in 1921.  He was an African American composer, educator, broadcaster and piano player.

From Greenville, NC, William Billy Taylor, Sr. graduated from Virginia State College in 1942. He moved to New York and played with such major musicians as Ben Webster, Eddie South, and Slam Stewart among others.   In 1944 he recorded with Stuff Smith. In 1951 he was the house pianist at Birdland and soon afterward Taylor formed his first of many trios.

| More