Graystone International Jazz Museum

McKinney’s Cotton Pickers

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McKinney’s Cotton Pickers, a black dance orchestra active from 1927 to 1934, served as the house band at Detroit’s Graystone Ballroom under Jean Goldkette management in the late 1920s. Under the direction of William McKinney (1895–1969) and saxophonist-arranger Don Redman (1900–1964), McKinney’s band rivaled the famous Duke Ellington and Fletcher Henderson orchestras during its existence. […]

James Jenkins

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Preface This manuscript is the product of a tape recorded interview with James T. Jenkins conducted by Deborah Evans for the Burton Historical Collection of the Detroit Public Library on June 7, 1988. Deborah Evans transferred the tape and James T. Jenkins [1916-1994] edited the transcript. James T. Jenkins is the Founder and Director of […]

Roy Brooks: Drumist 1938-2005

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Not a drummer, but a drumist Growing up in a Detroit with pianos in every house, Roy Brooks found the beginnings of his self-described purpose: to create a musical truth. Though Brooks received guidance from several of his more well-known contemporaries — Dizzy Gillespie and John Coltrane among them — he chose to forge his […]