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

Bob Marley, singer/songwriter/activist

Bob Marley

*This date marks the birth of Bob Marley in 1945. He was a Jamaican singer and songwriter whose name more than anyone represents reggae music, the tenets of Rastafarianism, and the struggle of the economically and politically oppressed.

Ragtime/showtune pianist Eubie Blake born

Eubie Blake

*On this date Eubie Blake was born in 1883. He was an African American pianist and composer of ragtime music and show tunes.

Blanche Calloway, bandleader and much more

Blanche Calloway

*Blanche Calloway was born on this date in 1902. She was an African American singer and bandleader.

From Baltimore, MD, in 1921, Blanche Calloway (Cab Calloway’s older sister) made her professional debut in the Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle musical Shuffle Along. Later, she sang with her brother’s band for a number of years before forming her own group. After years of slight success, she fronted the Andy Kirk band for a short period, which gave her the momentum to form her most famous orchestra, known as Blanche Calloway and Her Joy Boys (an all male band.)

Vocalist Sam Cooke was more than a singer

Sam Cooke

*On this date in 1935, Sam Cooke was born. He was an African American songwriter and performer.

Detroit's own, jazz great Milt Jackson

Milt Jackson

Milt Jackson was born on this date in 1923. He was an African American jazz musician, the first and most influential vibes player of the modern jazz era.

He was born in Detroit. At age 16, Jackson began playing vibes or vibraphone professionally. He attended Michigan State University and joined Dizzy Gillespie's sextet in 1945; he then worked with Gillespie's big band and later returned to play vibes and piano in Gillespie's sextet from 1950 to 1952. During this time, he freelanced with leading bop musicians in New York City and played in the Woody Herman band.

Clarence Williams, entrepreneur and jazz and blues artist

Clarence Williams

Clarence Williams was born on this date in 1898. He was an African American musician and an entrepreneur.

A unique voice, Al Hibbler

Al Hibbler

*Albert George Hibbler was born on this date 1915. He was an African American jazz singer.

Mr. Boogie Woogie, "Pine Top" Smith

Pine Top Smith

Pine Top” Smith, an African American musician, was born on this date in 1904.

Clarence "Pine Top” Smith was from Troy, AL, and was raised in nearby Birmingham. A self-taught pianist, he began performing at area house parties while in his mid-teens, He worked for some time as an entertainer in Pittsburgh, then toured on the TOBA Vaudeville circuit. After that he accompanied Ma Rainey and Butterbeans & Susie. On the advice of fellow pianist Cow Cow Davenport, Smith relocated to Chicago in 1928.