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Roosevelt Sykes

Roosevelt Sykes was one of the greatest blues pianists of all time. In a recording career that extended over five decades, Sykes displays a mastery of performing styles from barrelhouse to stride piano, from St. Louis boogie woogie to New Orleans blues.

Considered by musicians and music historians as the father of the modern blues piano style, Roosevelt Sykes possessed a beautiful voice and a unique keyboard style that was often imitated by other blues pianists, and he was the mentor for Memphis Slim. During the 1930s, he performed with sidemen ranging from jazz drummer “Big” Sid Catlett to slide guitarist James “Kokmo” Arnold. He also performed solo piano pieces. A genial man with a vibrant personality, Sykes was the consummate entertainer. He delighted audiences both in Europe and the United States with blues and ragtime-influenced songs filled with risque humor.

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