Luckey Roberts - stride pianist, composer (1887 - 1968)
He was Harlem's original piano powerhouse, the king of the New York Fast Shout pianists, the grandfather of stride piano. The name Luckey Roberts has become little more than a footnote in the pages of jazz history books. The names of his students are better known today than the master whom they worshipped. And what a list of disciples it is. These musicians include such luminaries as Duke Ellington, Earl Hines, James P Johnson, Eubie Blake, Willie The Lion Smith and last but not least George Gershwin.
Luckey Roberts was born on August 7, 1887 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After working in vaudeville as a child, Roberts moved to New York where he established a minor reputation as a composer and a major one as a performer of “Rags” and later “Stride” piano.