Archive

DUKE ELLINGTON The transiency of populations that marks D.C.'s metropolitan area also means that many of us have little appreciation of what has unfolded here in the last seventy years of popular music. If you want to talk about D.C.'s contributions to the music world-at-large, you might begin with Duke Ellington. Born and raised in D.C., Ellington is considered one of the greatest composers of the 20th century and leader for 50 years of a band...

JIMMY DEAN While in the Air Force during the 1940s, he joined the Tennessee Haymakers, a country band comprised of service personnel, who played off-duty gigs around Washington. Dean continued to play in the area after his discharge in 1948. Impresario Connie B Gay hired Dean and his band the Texas Wildcats to play on radio station WARL, Arlington, which led to a very popular country music TV show on WMAL, concert appearances, and ultimately to...

SHIRLEY HORN Vocalist, pianist, and bandleader. Shirley Horn has been a star in Washington for many years and has become known around the nation. She studied at Howard University and got help early in her career from Miles Davis and Quincy Jones. She is one of the few whose vocal and piano skills are equal. One of her best albums and the one that got her the attention she deserved, "You Won't Forget Me," features Miles...

ROY BUCHANAN A virtuoso guitarist, the son of a preacher, raised in a Californian farm community where traveling revivalists and their gospel music led him into abiding interest in blues. He was highly regarded for his exquisitely taut sound on the Fender Telecaster. Buchanan played with Dale Hawkins (Suzi Q) and later Ronnie Hawkins. His reputation as a hot-shot guitarist extends back to the beginnings of rock 'n' roll itself. He struck up a friendship with...

THE NIGHTHAWKS Hard driving, ever touring D.C. based band with strong Chicago blues roots. Formed in 1972 by harpist Mark Wenner and guitarist Jimmy Thackery, the band earned a reputation as a solid outfit through more than two decades of touring and recording projects with the likes of John Hammond, Greg Allman, and members of the Muddy Waters' Band. Thackery left in 1986 but the band regrouped around long-time members Jan Zukowski on bass and Pete...

CHUCK BROWN The legend goes that the term "Go-Go" was coined at a Chuck Brown show. "I came up on stage and I said, 'What time is it? and they called 'Time to Go-Go,'" says Chuck Brown. Most folks around here agree that Brown is the godfather of go go. His career began when he played the organ at the Mount Zion Holiness of God. Brown's go go music is derived from the "thumpin' funk" sound...

NILS LOFGREN World-renowned guitarist (and pianist) Nils Lofgren moved to the Washington area as a teenager. Nils came to the attention of Neil Young and Danny Whitten in 1971 resulting in an invitation to appear on their Crazy Horse recording. Young then featured his talents heavily on "After The Gold Rush," released when Nils was only seventeen years old. Lofgren's much-heralded performance enabled his original band, Grin to secure a recording contract resulting in three albums....

MSTISLAV ROSTROPOVICH Music Director Mstislav Rostropovich, lead the National Symphony Orchestra for 17 seasons, making his leadership among the longest and most impressive of current music directors of major American orchestras. During his tenure, the Orchestra was distinguished by constant growth in both artistry and reputation. Maestro Rostropovich's personal career is extraordinary and has been distinguished by an enviable diversity, bringing him recognition as conductor, cellist, and pianist; as one of today's most important catalysts for...

KETER BETTS A resident of the Washington area since 1953, Keter Betts is a world-renowned bassist, having toured for over 25 years with Ella Fitzgerald. In addition to Fitzgerald, he has toured with such artists as Dinah Washington, Benny Goodman, Charlie Byrd, Joe Williams, and Louie Bellson. Throughout this span, Betts has always found time to serve the Washington community with his talent and can frequently be found playing the host bassist to popular jazz artists...

THE CLOVERS Inspired by the Orioles and other vocal groups, the Clovers came together as a trio at Washington's Armstrong High School in 1946. Baritone Harold Lucas, lead John 'Buddy' Bailey, and second tenor Matthew McQuater, were joined by bass Harold Winley and guitarist Bill Harris. The son of a Washington diplomat, Ahmet Ertegun, who started Atlantic Records, caught the Clovers performing at the original Waxie Maxies at 7th and T, N.W. He signed the group,...