Anthony Dominick Benedetto, known professionally as Tony Bennett, is an American singer of traditional pop standards, big band, show tunes, jazz. He is a painter, having created works under the name Anthony Benedetto that are on permanent public display in several institutions, he is the founder of the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Astoria, New York. Born and raised in Astoria to an Italian-American family, Bennett began singing at an early age, he fought in the final stages of World War II as a U. S. Army infantryman in the European Theater. Afterward, he developed his singing technique, signed with Columbia Records and had his first number-one popular song with "Because of You" in 1951. Several top hits such as "Rags to Riches" followed in early 1953, he refined his approach to encompass jazz singing. He reached an artistic peak in the late 1950s with albums such as The Beat of My Heart and Basie Swings, Bennett Sings. In 1962, Bennett recorded his signature song, "I Left My Heart in San Francisco".
His career and his personal life experienced an extended downturn during the height of the rock music era. Bennett staged a comeback in the late 1980s and 1990s, putting out gold record albums again and expanding his reach to the MTV Generation while keeping his musical style intact, he remains a popular and critically praised recording concert performer in the 2010s. He has won 19 Grammy Awards and two Emmy Awards, was named an NEA Jazz Master and a Kennedy Center Honoree. Bennett has sold over 50 million records worldwide. Anthony Dominick Benedetto was born on August 3, 1926, in the Astoria neighborhood of New York City's Queens borough to grocer John Benedetto and seamstress Anna Suraci. In 1906, John had emigrated from Podàrgoni, a rural eastern district of the southern Italian city of Reggio Calabria. Anna had been born in the U. S. shortly after her parents emigrated from the Calabria region in 1899. Other relatives came over as well as part of the mass migration of Italians to America. Tony grew up with an older sister, an older brother, John Jr.
With a father, ailing and unable to work, the children grew up in poverty. John Sr. instilled in his son a love of art and literature and a compassion for human suffering, but died when Tony was 10 years old. The experience of growing up in the Great Depression and a distaste for the effects of the Hoover Administration would make the child a lifelong Democrat. Bennett grew up listening to Al Jolson, Eddie Cantor, Judy Garland, Bing Crosby as well as jazz artists such as Louis Armstrong, Jack Teagarden, Joe Venuti, his Uncle Dick was a tap dancer in vaudeville, giving him an early window into show business, his Uncle Frank was the Queens borough library commissioner. By age 10 he was singing, performed at the opening of the Triborough Bridge, standing next to Mayor Fiorello La Guardia who patted him on the head. Drawing was another early passion of his. S. 141 and anticipated a career in commercial art. He began singing for money at age 13, performing as a singing waiter in several Italian restaurants around his native Queens.
He attended New York's School of Industrial Art where he studied painting and music and would appreciate their emphasis on proper technique. But he dropped out at age 16 to help support his family, he worked as a copy boy and runner for the Associated Press in Manhattan and in several other low-skilled, low-paying jobs. However, he set his sights on a professional singing career, returning to performing as a singing waiter and winning amateur nights all around the city, having a successful engagement at a Paramus, New Jersey, nightclub. Benedetto was drafted into the United States Army in November 1944, during the final stages of World War II, he did basic training at Fort Robinson as part of becoming an infantry rifleman. Benedetto ran afoul of a sergeant from the South who disliked the Italian from New York City and heavy doses of KP duty or BAR cleaning resulted. Processed through the huge Le Havre replacement depot, in January 1945, he was assigned as a replacement infantryman to the 255th Infantry Regiment of the 63rd Infantry Division, a unit filling in for the heavy losses suffered in the Battle of the Bulge.
He moved across France, into Germany. As March 1945 began, he joined the front line and what he would describe as a "front-row seat in hell."As the German Army was pushed back to its homeland and his company saw bitter fighting in cold winter conditions hunkering down in foxholes as German 88 mm guns fired on them. At the end of March, they crossed the Rhine and entered Germany, engaging in dangerous house-to-house, town-after-town fighting to clean out German soldiers. During his time in combat, Benedetto narrowly escaped death several times; the experience made him a pacifist. I just said,'This is not life; this is not life.'" At the war's conclusion he was involved in the liberation of a Nazi concentration camp near Landsberg, where some American prisoners of war from the 63rd Division had been held. Benedetto stayed in Germany as part of the occupying force, but was assigned to an informal Special Services band unit that would entertain nearby American forces, his dining with a black friend from high school – at a time when the Army was still racially segregated – led to his being demoted and reassigned to Graves Registration Service duties.
Benjamin Francis Webster was an American jazz tenor saxophonist. He is considered one of the three most important "swing tenors" along with Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young. Known affectionately as "The Brute" or "Frog", he had a tough and brutal tone on stomps, yet on ballads he played with warmth and sentiment, he was indebted to alto saxophonist Johnny Hodges. Born in Kansas City, Missouri, he studied violin in elementary and taught himself piano with the help of his neighbor Pete Johnson, who taught him the blues. In 1927-1928 he played for silent movies in Amarillo, Texas. Once Budd Johnson showed him some basics on the saxophone, Webster began to focus on that instrument, playing in the Young Family Band, although he did return to the piano from time to time recording on the instrument occasionally. Kansas City at this point was a melting pot from which emerged some of the biggest names in 1930s jazz. Webster joined Bennie Moten's band in 1932, a grouping which included Count Basie, Oran "Hot Lips" Page and Walter Page.
This era was recreated in Robert Altman's film Kansas City. Webster spent time with quite a few orchestras in the 1930s, including Andy Kirk, the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra in 1934 Benny Carter, Willie Bryant, Cab Calloway, the short-lived Teddy Wilson big band. Ben Webster played with Duke Ellington's orchestra for the first time in 1935, by 1940 was performing with it full-time as the band's first major tenor soloist, he credited Ellington's alto soloist, as a major influence on his playing. During the next three years, he played on many recordings, including "Cotton Tail" and "All Too Soon". Webster left the band in 1943 after an angry altercation during which he cut up one of Ellington's suits. Another version of Webster's leaving Ellington came from Clark Terry, a longtime Ellington player, who said that, in a dispute, Webster slapped Ellington, upon which the latter gave him two weeks notice. After leaving Ellington in 1943, Webster worked on 52nd Street in New York City, where he recorded as both a leader and a sideman.
During this time he had short periods with Raymond Scott, John Kirby, Bill DeArango, Sid Catlett, as well as with Jay McShann's band, which featured blues shouter Jimmy Witherspoon. For a few months in 1948, he returned to Ellington's orchestra. In 1953, he recorded King of the Tenors with pianist Oscar Peterson, who would be an important collaborator with Webster throughout the decade in his recordings for the various labels of Norman Granz. Along with Peterson, trumpeter Harry'Sweets' Edison and others, he was touring and recording with Granz's Jazz at the Philharmonic package. In 1956, he recorded a classic set with pianist Art Tatum, supported by bassist Red Callender and drummer Bill Douglass. Coleman Hawkins Encounters Ben Webster with fellow tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins was recorded on December 16, 1957, along with Peterson, Herb Ellis, Ray Brown, Alvin Stoller; the Hawkins and Webster recording is a jazz classic, the coming together of two giants of the tenor saxophone, who had first met back in Kansas City.
In the late 1950s, he formed a quintet with Gerry Mulligan and played at a Los Angeles club called Renaissance. It was there that the Webster-Mulligan group backed up blues singer Jimmy Witherspoon on an album recorded live for Hi-Fi Jazz Records; that same year, 1959, the quintet, with pianist Jimmy Rowles, bassist Leroy Vinnegar, drummer Mel Lewis recorded "Gerry Mulligan Meets Ben Webster" for Verve Records. Webster worked but in 1965 he moved permanently to Europe, working with other American jazz musicians based there as well as local musicians, he played. He lived in London for one year, followed by four years in Amsterdam and made his last home in Copenhagen in 1969. Webster appeared as a sax player in a low-rent cabaret club in the 1970 Danish blue film titled Quiet Days in Clichy. In 1971, Webster reunited with Duke Ellington and his orchestra for a couple of shows at the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, he recorded or performed with Buck Clayton, Bill Coleman and Teddy Wilson. Webster suffered a cerebral bleed in Amsterdam in September 1973, following a performance at the Twee Spieghels in Leiden, died on 20 September.
His body was cremated in Copenhagen and his ashes were buried in the Assistens Cemetery in the Nørrebro section of the city. After Webster's death, Billy Moore Jr. together with the trustee of Webster's estate, created the Ben Webster Foundation www.benwebster.dk. Since Webster's only legal heir, Harley Robinson of Los Angeles, gladly assigned his rights to the foundation, the Ben Webster Foundation was confirmed by the Queen of Denmark's Seal in 1976. In the Foundation's trust deed, one of the initial paragraphs reads: "to support the dissemination of jazz in Denmark"; the trust is a beneficial foundation which channels Webster's annual royalties to musicians in both Denmark and the U. S. An annual Ben Webster Prize is awarded to a young outstanding musician; the prize is not large, but is considered prestigious. Over the years, several American musicians have visited Denmark with the help of the Foundation, concerts, a few recordings, other jazz-related events have been supported. Webster's private collection of jazz recordings and memorabilia is archived in the jazz collections at the Un
William Thomas Strayhorn was an American jazz composer, pianist and arranger, best remembered for his long-time collaboration with bandleader and composer Duke Ellington that lasted nearly three decades. His compositions include "Take the'A' Train", "Chelsea Bridge", "A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing", "Lush Life". Strayhorn was born in Ohio, his family soon moved to the Homewood section of Pennsylvania. However, his mother's family was from Hillsborough, North Carolina, she sent him there to protect him from his father's drunken sprees. Strayhorn spent many months of his childhood at his grandparents' house in Hillsborough. In an interview, Strayhorn said that his grandmother was his primary influence during the first ten years of his life, he first became interested in music while living with her, playing hymns on her piano, playing records on her Victrola record player. Strayhorn returned to Pittsburgh, attended Westinghouse High School attended by Erroll Garner and Ahmad Jamal. In Pittsburgh, he began his musical career, studying classical music for a time at the Pittsburgh Music Institute, writing a high school musical, forming a musical trio that played daily on a local radio station, while still in his teens, composing the songs "Life Is Lonely", "My Little Brown Book", "Something to Live For".
While still in grade school, he worked odd jobs to earn enough money to buy his first piano. While in high school, he played in the school band, studied under the same teacher, Carl McVicker, who had instructed jazz pianists Erroll Garner and Mary Lou Williams. By age 19, he was writing for Fantastic Rhythm. Though classical music was Strayhorn's first love, his ambition to become a classical composer was shot down by the harsh reality of a black man trying to make it in the classical world, which at that time was completely white. Strayhorn was introduced to the music of pianists like Art Tatum and Teddy Wilson at age 19; these musicians guided him into the realm of jazz. His first jazz exposure was in a combo called the Mad Hatters. Strayhorn's fellow students, guitarist Bill Esch and drummer Mickey Scrima influenced his move towards jazz, he began writing arrangements for Buddy Malone's Pittsburgh dance band after 1937, he met Duke Ellington in December 1938, after an Ellington performance in Pittsburgh.
Here he first told, showed the band leader how he would have arranged one of Duke's own pieces. Ellington was impressed enough to invite other band members to hear Strayhorn. At the end of the visit, he arranged for Strayhorn to meet him. Strayhorn worked for Ellington for the next quarter century as an arranger, occasional pianist and collaborator until his early death from cancer; as Ellington described him, "Billy Strayhorn was my right arm, my left arm, all the eyes in the back of my head, my brain waves in his head, his in mine." Strayhorn's relationship with Ellington was always difficult to pin down: Strayhorn was a gifted composer and arranger who seemed to flourish in Duke's shadow. Ellington was arguably a father figure and the band was affectionately protective of the diminutive, mild-mannered, unselfish Strayhorn, nicknamed by the band "Strays", "Weely", "Swee' Pea". Ellington may have taken advantage of him, but not in the mercenary way in which others had taken advantage of Ellington.
Though Duke Ellington took credit for much of Strayhorn's work, he did not maliciously drown out his partner. Ellington would make jokes onstage like, "Strayhorn does a lot of the work but I get to take the bows!" On the other hand, Ellington did not oppose his publicists' crediting him without any mention of Strayhorn, despite the latter's attempts to hide his dissatisfaction, "Strayhorn revealed", at least to his friends, "a deepening well of unease about his lack of public recognition as Ellington's prominence grew."Strayhorn composed the band's best known theme, "Take the'A' Train", a number of other pieces that became part of the band's repertoire. In some cases Strayhorn received attribution for his work such as "Lotus Blossom", "Chelsea Bridge", "Rain Check", while others, such as "Day Dream" and "Something to Live For", were listed as collaborations with Ellington or, in the case of "Satin Doll" and "Sugar Hill Penthouse", were credited to Ellington alone. Strayhorn arranged many of Ellington's band-within-band recordings and provided harmonic clarity and polish to Duke's compositions.
On the other hand, Ellington gave Strayhorn full credit as his collaborator on larger works such as Such Sweet Thunder, A Drum Is a Woman, The Perfume Suite and The Far East Suite, where Strayhorn and Ellington worked together. Strayhorn often sat in on the piano with the Ellington Orchestra, both live and in the studio. Detroit Free Press music critic Mark Stryker concludes that the work of Strayhorn and Ellington in Anatomy of a Murder is "indispensable... too sketchy to rank in the top echelon among Ellington-Strayhorn masterpiece suites like Such Sweet Thunder and The Far East Suite, but its most inspired moments are their equal." Film historians have recognized the soundtrack "as a landmark -- the first significant Hollywood film music by African Americans comprising non-diegetic music, that is, music whose source is not visible or implied by action in the film, like an
Los Angeles the City of Los Angeles and known by its initials L. A. is the most populous city in California, the second most populous city in the United States, after New York City, the third most populous city in North America. With an estimated population of four million, Los Angeles is the cultural and commercial center of Southern California; the city is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity and the entertainment industry, its sprawling metropolis. Los Angeles is the largest city on the West Coast of North America. Los Angeles is in a large basin bounded by the Pacific Ocean on one side and by mountains as high as 10,000 feet on the other; the city proper, which covers about 469 square miles, is the seat of Los Angeles County, the most populated county in the country. Los Angeles is the principal city of the Los Angeles metropolitan area, the second largest in the United States after that of New York City, with a population of 13.1 million. It is part of the Los Angeles-Long Beach combined statistical area the nation's second most populous area with a 2015 estimated population of 18.7 million.
Los Angeles is one of the most substantial economic engines within the United States, with a diverse economy in a broad range of professional and cultural fields. Los Angeles is famous as the home of Hollywood, a major center of the world entertainment industry. A global city, it has been ranked 6th in the Global Cities Index and 9th in the Global Economic Power Index; the Los Angeles metropolitan area has a gross metropolitan product of $1.044 trillion, making it the third-largest in the world, after the Tokyo and New York metropolitan areas. Los Angeles hosted the 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympics and will host the event for a third time in 2028; the city hosted the Miss Universe pageant twice, in 1990 and 2006, was one of 9 American cities to host the 1994 FIFA men's soccer World Cup and one of 8 to host the 1999 FIFA women's soccer World Cup, hosting the final match for both tournaments. Home to the Chumash and Tongva, Los Angeles was claimed by Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo for Spain in 1542 along with the rest of what would become Alta California.
The city was founded on September 4, 1781, by Spanish governor Felipe de Neve. It became a part of Mexico in 1821 following the Mexican War of Independence. In 1848, at the end of the Mexican–American War, Los Angeles and the rest of California were purchased as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, becoming part of the United States. Los Angeles was incorporated as a municipality on April 4, 1850, five months before California achieved statehood; the discovery of oil in the 1890s brought rapid growth to the city. The completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913, delivering water from Eastern California assured the city's continued rapid growth; the Los Angeles coastal area was settled by the Chumash tribes. A Gabrieleño settlement in the area was called iyáangẚ, meaning "poison oak place". Maritime explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo claimed the area of southern California for the Spanish Empire in 1542 while on an official military exploring expedition moving north along the Pacific coast from earlier colonizing bases of New Spain in Central and South America.
Gaspar de Portolà and Franciscan missionary Juan Crespí, reached the present site of Los Angeles on August 2, 1769. In 1771, Franciscan friar Junípero Serra directed the building of the Mission San Gabriel Arcángel, the first mission in the area. On September 4, 1781, a group of forty-four settlers known as "Los Pobladores" founded the pueblo they called El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles,'The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels'; the present-day city has the largest Roman Catholic Archdiocese in the United States. Two-thirds of the Mexican or settlers were mestizo or mulatto, a mixture of African and European ancestry; the settlement remained a small ranch town for decades, but by 1820, the population had increased to about 650 residents. Today, the pueblo is commemorated in the historic district of Los Angeles Pueblo Plaza and Olvera Street, the oldest part of Los Angeles. New Spain achieved its independence from the Spanish Empire in 1821, the pueblo continued as a part of Mexico.
During Mexican rule, Governor Pío Pico made Los Angeles Alta California's regional capital. Mexican rule ended during the Mexican–American War: Americans took control from the Californios after a series of battles, culminating with the signing of the Treaty of Cahuenga on January 13, 1847. Railroads arrived with the completion of the transcontinental Southern Pacific line to Los Angeles in 1876 and the Santa Fe Railroad in 1885. Petroleum was discovered in the city and surrounding area in 1892, by 1923, the discoveries had helped California become the country's largest oil producer, accounting for about one-quarter of the world's petroleum output. By 1900, the population had grown to more than 102,000; the completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913, under the supervision of William Mulholland, assured the continued growth of the city. Due to clauses in the city's charter that prevented the City of Los Angeles from selling or providing water from the aqueduct to any area outside its borders, many adjacent city and communities became compelled to annex themselves into Los Angeles.
Los Angeles created the first municipal zoning ordinance in the United States. On September 14, 1908, the Los Angeles City Council promulgated residential and industrial land use zones; the new ordinance established three residential zones of a single type, where industrial uses were
Michael Jay Feinstein is an American singer and music revivalist. He is an interpreter of, an anthropologist and archivist for, the repertoire known as the Great American Songbook. In 1988 he won a Drama Desk Special Award for celebrating American musical theatre songs. Feinstein is a multi-platinum-selling, five-time Grammy-nominated recording artist, he serves as Artistic Director for The Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, Indiana. Feinstein was born in Columbus, the son of Florence Mazie, an amateur tap dancer, Edward Feinstein, a sales executive for the Sara Lee Corporation and a former amateur singer, he is of Jewish descent. At the age of five, he studied piano for a couple of months until his teacher became angered that he was not reading the sheet music she gave him, since he was more comfortable playing by ear; as his mother saw no problem with her son's method, she took him out of lessons and allowed him to enjoy music his own way. After graduating from high school, Feinstein worked in local piano bars for two years, moving to Los Angeles when he was 20.
Through the widow of legendary concert pianist-actor Oscar Levant, in 1977 he was introduced to Ira Gershwin, who hired him to catalogue his extensive collection of phonograph records. The assignment led to six years of researching and preserving the unpublished sheet music and rare recordings in Gershwin's home, thus securing the legacy of not just Ira but that of his composer brother George Gershwin, who had died four decades earlier. Feinstein's extended tenure enabled him to get to know Gershwin's next-door neighbor, singer Rosemary Clooney, with whom Feinstein formed an intensely close friendship lasting until Clooney's death. Feinstein served as musical consultant for the 1983 Broadway show My One and Only, a musical pastiche of Gershwin tunes. By the mid-1980s, Feinstein was a nationally known cabaret singer-pianist famed for being a dedicated proponent of the Great American Songbook. In 1986, he recorded Pure Gershwin, a collection of music by George and Ira Gershwin, he followed this in quick succession with Live at the Algonquin.
Feinstein recorded his only children's album, Pure Imagination, in 1992. In the 1987 episode "But Not For Me" of the TV series thirtysomething he sang "But Not For Me", "Love Is Here to Stay" and Isn't It Romantic? as parts of dream sequences. By 1988, Feinstein was starring on Broadway in a series of in-concert shows: Michael Feinstein in Concert, Michael Feinstein in Concert: "Isn't It Romantic", Michael Feinstein in Concert: Piano and Voice, he returned to Broadway in a concert special duo with Dame Edna titled All About Me. In the early 1990s, Feinstein embarked on an ambitious songbook project wherein he performed an album featuring the music of a featured composer accompanied by the composer; these included collaborations with Burton Lane, Jule Styne, Jerry Herman, Hugh Martin, Jimmy Webb and Jay Livingston/Ray Evans. He has recorded three albums of standards with Maynard Ferguson: Forever, Such Sweet Sorrow, Big City Rhythms. In the late 1990s, Feinstein recorded two more albums of Gershwin music: Nice Work If You Can Get It: Songs by the Gershwins and Michael & George: Feinstein Sings Gershwin.
Feinstein's albums in the 21st century have included Romance on Film, Romance on Broadway, Michael Feinstein with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Hopeless Romantics, The Sinatra Project. In 2000, the Library of Congress appointed Feinstein to its newly formed National Recording Preservation Board, an organization dedicated to safeguarding America's musical heritage. In 2008, The Great American Songbook Foundation, Michael Feinstein, Founder located its headquarters in Carmel, Indiana; the Foundation's two-fold mission includes the preservation and exhibition of the physical artifacts, both published and non-published, of the Great American Songbook and educating today's youth about the music's relevance to their lives. The Foundation houses an reference library; the organization holds an annual Great American Songbook Vocal Academy and Competition that invites high school students from around the country to compete in regional competitions. Finalists gather at the Foundation's headquarters for final competition.
The winner receives scholarship money and the opportunity to perform with Michael at his cabaret in New York. In 2009 Feinstein became the artistic director of The Center for the Performing Arts. Located in Carmel, Indiana. Construction of the $170-million, three-theater venue was completed in January, 2011; the Center is home to an annual international arts festival, diverse live programming, The Great American Songbook Foundation, Michael Feinstein, founder. In 2009, Feinstein teamed up with Cheyenne Jackson to create a nightclub act titled "The Power of Two"; the show was hailed by The New York Times as "passionate", "impeccably harmonized" and "groundbreaking". Variety acclaimed it as "dazzlingly entertaining", their act became one of t
Ray Charles Robinson was an American singer, songwriter and composer. Among friends and fellow musicians he preferred being called "Brother Ray", he was referred to as "The Genius". Charles started losing his vision at the age of 5, by 7 he was blind, he pioneered the soul music genre during the 1950s by combining blues and blues, gospel styles into the music he recorded for Atlantic. He contributed to the integration of country music and blues, pop music during the 1960s with his crossover success on ABC Records, notably with his two Modern Sounds albums. While he was with ABC, Charles became one of the first black musicians to be granted artistic control by a mainstream record company. Charles cited Nat King Cole as a primary influence, but his music was influenced by Louis Jordan and Charles Brown, he became friends with Quincy Jones. Their friendship lasted until the end of Charles's life. Frank Sinatra called Ray Charles "the only true genius in show business", although Charles downplayed this notion.
In 2002, Rolling Stone ranked Charles number ten on its list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time", number two on their November 2008 list of the "100 Greatest Singers of All Time". Billy Joel said, "This may sound like sacrilege, but I think Ray Charles was more important than Elvis Presley". Ray Charles Robinson was the son of Bailey Robinson, a laborer, Aretha Williams, his mother was a teenage orphan making a living as a sharecropper. They lived in Florida with Robinson's father and his wife, Mary Jane Robinson; the Robinson family had informally adopted Aretha, she took the surname Robinson. When she became pregnant by Bailey, incurring scandal, she left Greenville late in the summer of 1930 to be with family members in Albany, Georgia for the baby's birth, after which mother and child returned to Greenville, she and Mary Jane shared in Ray's upbringing. He was devoted to his mother and recalled her perseverance, self-sufficiency, pride as guiding lights in his life, his father abandoned the family, left Greenville, married another woman elsewhere.
In his early years, Charles showed an interest in mechanical objects and would watch his neighbors working on their cars and farm machinery. His musical curiosity was sparked at Wylie Pitman's Red Wing Cafe, at the age of three, when Pitman played boogie woogie on an old upright piano. Charles and his mother were always welcome at the Red Wing Cafe and lived there when they were in financial distress. Pitman would care for Ray's younger brother George, to take some of the burden off their mother. George drowned in his mother's laundry tub. Charles started to lose his sight at the age of four or five, was blind by the age of seven as a result of glaucoma. Destitute and mourning the loss of her younger son, Aretha Robinson used her connections in the local community to find a school that would accept a blind African-American pupil. Despite his initial protest, Charles attended school at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in St. Augustine from 1937 to 1945. Charles further developed his musical talent at school and was taught to play the classical piano music of J.
S. Bach and Beethoven, his teacher, Mrs. Lawrence, taught him how to use braille music, a difficult process that requires learning the left hand movements by reading braille with the right hand and learning the right hand movements by reading braille with the left hand, combining the two parts. While Charles was happy to play classical music, he was more interested in the jazz and country music he heard on the radio. On Fridays, the South Campus Literary Society held assemblies at which Charles would play piano and sing popular songs. On both Halloween and George Washington's birthday, the black department of the school held socials at which Charles would play, it was here he established "RC Robinson and the Shop Boys" and sang his own arrangement of "Jingle Bell Boogie". During this time, he performed on WFOY radio in St. Augustine. Ray Charles' mother died in the Spring of 1944, when Ray was 14, her death came as a shock to him. Charles returned to school after the funeral but was expelled in October for playing a prank on his teacher.
After leaving school, Charles moved to Jacksonville with a couple, friends with his late mother. He played the piano for bands at the Ritz Theatre in LaVilla for over a year, he joined the musicians' union in the hope. He befriended many union members, but others were less kind to him because he would monopolize the union hall's piano, since he did not have one at home, he started to build a reputation as a talented musician in Jacksonville, but the jobs did not come fast enough for him to construct a strong identity. He decided to move to a bigger city with more opportunities. At age 16, Charles moved to Orlando, where he lived in borderline poverty and went without food for days, it was difficult for musicians to find work, as since World War II had ended there were no "G. I. Joes" left to entertain. Charles started to write arrangements for a pop music band, in the summer of 1947 he unsuccessfully auditioned to play piano for Lucky Millinder and his sixteen-piece band. In 1947, Charles moved to Tampa, where he had two jobs: one as a pianist for Charles Brantley's Honeydippers.
In his early career, he modeled himself on Nat King Cole. His first four recordings—"Wondering and Wondering", "Walking and Talkin
Decca Records is a British record label established in 1929 by Edward Lewis. Its U. S. label was established in late 1934 by Lewis, along with American Decca's first president Jack Kapp and American Decca president Milton Rackmil. In 1937, anticipating Nazi aggression leading to World War II, Lewis sold American Decca and the link between the UK and U. S. Decca labels was broken for several decades; the British label was renowned for its development of recording methods, while the American company developed the concept of cast albums in the musical genre. Both wings are now part of the Universal Music Group, owned by Vivendi, a media conglomerate headquartered in Paris, France; the US Decca label was the foundation company that evolved into UMG. The name "Decca" was coined by Wilfred S. Samuel by merging the word "Mecca" with the initial D of their logo "Dulcet" or their trademark "Dulcephone". Samuel, a linguist, chose "Decca" as a brand name; the name dates back to a portable gramophone called the "Decca Dulcephone" patented in 1914 by musical instrument makers Barnett Samuel and Sons.
That company was renamed the Decca Gramophone Co. Ltd. and sold to former stockbroker Edward Lewis in 1929. Within years, Decca Records Ltd. was the second largest record label in the world, calling itself "The Supreme Record Company". Decca continued to run it under that name. In the 1950s the American Decca studios were located in the Pythian Temple in New York City. In classical music, Decca had a long way to go from its modest beginnings to catch up with the established HMV and Columbia labels; the pre-war classical repertoire on Decca was select. The 3-disc 1929 recording of Delius's Sea Drift, arising from the Delius Festival that year, suffered by being crammed onto six sides, being indifferently recorded and expensive. However, it won Decca the loyalty of the baritone Roy Henderson, who went on to record for them the first complete Dido and Aeneas of Purcell with Nancy Evans and the Boyd Neel ensemble. Heinrich Schlusnus made important pre-war lieder recordings for Decca. Decca's emergence as a major classical label may be attributed to three concurrent events: the emphasis on technical innovation, the introduction of the long-playing record, the recruitment of John Culshaw to Decca's London office.
Decca released the stereo recordings of Ernest Ansermet conducting L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, including, in 1959, the first stereo LP album of the complete Nutcracker, as well as Ansermet's only stereo version of Manuel de Falla's The Three-Cornered Hat, which the conductor had led at its first performance in 1919. John Culshaw, who joined Decca in 1946 in a junior post became a senior producer of classical recordings, he revolutionised recording -- in particular. Hitherto, the practice had been to put microphones in front of the performers and record what they performed. Culshaw was determined to make recordings that would be'a theatre of the mind', making the listener's experience at home not second best to being in the opera house, but a wholly different experience. To that end he got the singers to move about in the studio as they would onstage, used discreet sound effects and different acoustics, recorded in long continuous takes, his skill, coupled with Decca engineering, took Decca into the first flight of recording companies.
His pioneering recording of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen conducted by Georg Solti was a huge artistic and commercial success. Solti recorded throughout his career for Decca, made more than 250 recordings, including 45 complete opera sets. Among the international honours given Solti for his recordings were 31 Grammy awards – more than any other recording artist, whether classical or popular. In the wake of Decca's lead, artists such as Herbert von Karajan, Joan Sutherland and Luciano Pavarotti were keen to join the company's roster. However, Culshaw was speaking, not the first to do this. In 1951, Columbia Records executive Goddard Lieberson partnered with Broadway conductor Lehman Engel to record a series of unrecorded Broadway musical scores for Columbia Masterworks, including what Engel, in his book The American Musical Theatre: A Consideration, termed "Broadway opera", in 1951, they released the most complete Porgy and Bess recorded up to that time. Far from being a mere rendering of the score, the 3-LP album set used sound effects to realistically recreate the production as if the listener were watching a stage performance of the work.
Until 1947, American Decca issued British Decca classical music recordings. Afterwards, British Decca took over distribution through its new American subsidiary London Records. American Decca re-entered the classical music field in 1950 with distribution deals from Deutsche Grammophon and Parlophone. American Decca began issuing its own classical music recordings in 1956 when Israel Horowitz joined Decca to head its classical music operations. To further American Decca's dedication to serious music, in August of 1950, Rackmill announced the release of a new series of disks to be known as the "Decca Gold Label Series", to be devoted to "symphonies, chamber music, opera and choral music." American and European arti