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On this date Luckey Roberts was born in 1887. He was an 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 and most of these 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 such pianists as Fats Waller, James P. Johnson and Willie "The Lion" Smith at his astonishing technique, a technique that was greatly made possible by his remarkably large hands.
Luckey Roberts died on February 5, 1968.
A Century of Jazz by Roy Carr
Da Capo Press, New York