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On this date, Luckey Roberts was born in 1887. He was a Black composer and jazz pianist.
Born Charles Luckyeth in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and after working in vaudeville as a child, Roberts moved to New York, where he established a minor reputation as a composer and a major one as a performer of “Rags” and later “Stride” piano. In the years between World War One and World War Two, Roberts’ composing talents were recognized more, and several of his musical shows were produced.
During the 40s and early 50s, he owned and regularly performed at a Harlem bar. Roberts made few records, most of which were early piano rolls, while his later records were made after he had suffered strokes and was injured in a road accident. Still, it is possible to understand the awe felt by pianists like Fats Waller, James P. Johnson, and Willie "The Lion" Smith at his astonishing technique. This technique was greatly made possible by his remarkably large hands.
Luckey Roberts died on February 5, 1968.