This site is our own tribute to all those fellas who were radiating the 88's during the 20s and 30s in the Wind City.
Born in West Orange, NJ, Frank discovered blues and hot jazz music in the early 1960s, through nickelodeon rolls featuring Chicago pianists such as Blythe, Johnson, Hill and many others. He met Mike Montgomery and Trebor Tichenor at that time, and their extensive knowledge and dedication to solid research became his lifelong inspiration and model. Although he aspired to be a classical concert pianist, Frank holds a PhD in inorganic chemistry and spent his working career as a professional research chemist and educator, with 9 US Patents to his credit. But jazz, blues and ragtime piano have always been his passion. His collecting interests led him to build what is probably the largest archive of original piano rolls in blues/jazz/ragtime/hot music genres in existence. Frank has always adhered to the philosophy that what is left of this music must be preserved for future generations; and that “what we keep to ourselves is forever lost.” Now retired, Frank lives with his three beloved daughters and devotes his spare time to musical research and sharing his life’s work with others through this website.
Nathan Scott Bello
Became interested in piano at an early age and began piano studies with his father at the age of six. He has won numerous awards in both composition and piano competitions. He has performed internationally with major symphony orchestras around the world and has appeared in Rio de Janeiro, New York, Boston and Seattle. He has played in Carnegie Hall in the International Festival of Young Virtuosos and has appeared on NPR’s hit radio show From the Top. He has transcribed hundreds of player rolls for piano solo, which were not originally published or notated. He is a graduate from Boston University with a double major in piano and composition, and studied under Lukas Foss. Nathan has recorded six solo piano CDs and three ensemble albums. He is an active member of ASCAP and is available for concert engagements and festivals.
Born in London, discovered blues music in 1962 via the Alan Lomax documentary record, Blues In The Mississippi Night (Pye-Nixa, 1957), Paul Oliver's Blues Fell This Morning (1960) and the columns of UK blues aficionados Derrick Stewart-Baxter (Jazz Journal) and Albert McCarthy (Jazz Monthly). Began writing and reviewing blues related material in 1966 for a variety of specialist and non-specialist UK magazines. Formerly a co-editor of Blues-Link (1973-75), news editor of Black Echoes Weekly (1976) and consultant to Talking Blues (1976-78). Have advised companies such as Polydor (1972-3), DJM (1975-79) and Charly (1980-1) on their blues catalogues as well as compiling and programming releases for others as EMI, Pye and Flyright. Authored LP notes & CD booklets (1976-2006).
Knowledge and taste span the whole range of black folk music and folklore: worksong, jugbands, gospel, rural blues, urban blues and R&B. Own an extensive library of books and magazines covering these disciplines, together with a record collection started in 1963.
Today known for my involvement with major research or discographical projects, especially Stefan Wirz's ever-growing web-based American Music enterprise.
Main areas of expertise are the life and music of Sam Lightnin' Hopkins, Elmore James and Otis Spann about whom have written extensively.
Born in 1958, he started playing and collecting piano blues in 1973 after attending a concert with Roosevelt Sykes. In 1980 and 1981 , He spent one month each in the south of the US searching and interviewing old blues musicians, pianists had been Mose Vinson, Memphis Piano Red, Alex Moore, Robert Shaw, Lavada Durst, Tuts Washington and Trenton Cooper.
In the early 2000`s He discovered members of the Meade Lux Lewis family, with one of his grand-nieces had been visiting him in 2002. Active, He performs sporadically, having a small boogie woogie festival in Austria since 2002 in autumn, with musicians like Lila Ammons or Axel Zwingenberger performing there.
Blues pianist/accompanist to a host of blues legends. Played on around 120 albums including eight solo albums. Singer/songwriter. Over fifty published and recorded songs. Performed at festivals in UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Italy, Scandinavia. Radio presenter, weekly programme of rare blues and more on Sheffield Live 93.2FM. Contributor to blues magazines and textbooks including The Routledge Encyclopaedia of the Blues. Gives workshops on blues history and blues piano. Formerly featured tutor at the European Blues Association Blues Week at Exeter University and sleeve-note writer for Yazoo Records piano blues series. Website : www.boogie.demon.co.uk.
He was born in Zurich, Switzerland in 1963 and got his interest for jazz at an early stage through his father's record collection. Later He decided to learn to play the piano partially on a self-taught basis, and met people knowledgeable with the classic blues piano styles. More instruments got his attention (guitar, bass, drums), and at the age of 23 he moved from Zurich to Vienna, Austria to become a professional musician. Every since, upright bass and piano are his favorite instruments, and with the years he was able to found various bands in his preferred style: Blues/Swing/R&B, touring around the world.
Born in Melbourne, Australia in 1945, his first inspiration listening to piano was the classic rock 'n' roll of Little Richard. By 1963, He was immersed in blues and jazz, and had discovered the boogie woogie greats such as Albert Ammons. He started a magazine called "Alley Music" in which he began a series of articles about Alabama blues, which seemed to be otherwise ignored. As a result He discovered the magnificent recordings of Walter Roland, including his accompaniments to Lucille Bogan (as Bessie Jackson). He first visited the United States in 1972, staying 7 months, and returned in 1975, interviewing many performers, including pianists such as Nat Dove, Bob Jeffery, Amos Milburn, Blind John Davis, Romeo Nelson, Sunnyland Slim, Detroit Jr., Baby Doo (Caston), Jimmy Walker, Oliver Sain, Robert McCoy, Oddis Turner, Connie Mack Booker, Tommy Ridgley, Roosevelt Sykes, Henry Townsend, Jimmie Lax, and Candy Man McGuirt. He has written numerous articles for magazines. Spent much time in the United States in the 1990s, again interviewing performers. With Eric S. LeBlanc, wrote "Blues - A Regional Experience", examining regional styles. Preparing the exhaustive "Blues and Gospel Encyclopedia" for publication around 2015.