Alvin Queen was born on August 16, 1950 in the Bronx, New York, but his family relocated to Mt. Vernon when he was 2 years old. The Queens were poor, but the Levister Towers projects where Alvin grew up proved to be rich territory, as he was surrounded by many individuals who, like him, sprouted into the leading exponents of their generation.
There were scores of musicians, like sax men John Purcell and Jimmy Hill; vibraphonist Jay Hoggard; pianist Tommy James; B-3 organ champ Richard Levister; his swinging brother, Millard Levister on drums; and far too many others to name. And Alvin's list of celebrity running mates didn't end with musicians; they included future NBA stars like Ray Williams of the New York Knicks and Gus Williams of the Seattle Supersonics.
Alvin's hoop skills, however, were limited to the neighborhood courts, where he'd go head-to-head at the infamous Fourth Street playground with other wannabe hardwood stars, which included future Academy Award winner Denzel Washington. In fact, it was Denzel's father, Elder D. Washington Sr., who was pastor of the First Church of God In Christ, where Alvin's grandmother was a member. That church ended up playing a pivotal role in Alvin's life, because it's where he got his first dose of spirit- filled music, and after he began singing in the choir and playing the tambourine - it's where he began connecting with and conveying the rhythms of his life.