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 Davis, Wynton, and Branford Masalis. She is a fine singer in the cabaret mode and prefers intimate ballads, show tunes, and standards. Horn is a first-rate pianist whose solo and accompanying skills are masterful. Her 80s and 90s album reviews are getting critical raves.


Ferdinand “Jelly Roll” Morton is widely regarded as the first great composer in the jazz idiom, witnessed especially in his Red Hot Peppers recordings made for Victor in 1926-1930. As was the case for many New Orleans players, the Depression was unkind to Morton and he found himself living in obscurity in Washington, waiting tables at a shoe-box nightclub called the Music Box. A series of oral history recordings made by Alan Lomax for the Archive of American Folksong at the Library of Congress in 1938 returned Jelly to national attention. Morton was certainly one of the most colorful characters in jazz history. As a solo pianist, he was capable of milking the instrument completely, with the ability to make a piano sound like an entire band.

Content courtesy of Washington Area Music Association.