Syl Johnson (b. July 1, 1936) is an American blues and soul singer and music producer. Born Sylvester Thompson in Holly Springs, Mississippi, Johnson sang and played with blues artists Magic Sam, Billy Boy Arnold, Junior Wells and Howlin' Wolf in the 1950s, before recording with Jimmy Reed for Vee-Jay in 1959. He made his solo debut that same year with Federal, a subsidiary of King Records of Cincinnati, backed by Freddie King on guitar.
Bob James (born December 25, 1939) is a two-time Grammy Award-winning jazz keyboardist. Though he has recorded a couple of straight jazz albums, most of his recordings contain "pop-jazz" which is a type of instrumental pop music. Bob James was an important figure in turning 1970s fusion jazz more commercial. For their album One on One, Earl Klugh and Bob James received a Grammy award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance of 1981.
Andre Williams (born Zephire Andre Williams in Bessemer, Alabama, on November 1, 1936) is an American R&B and punk blues musician who started his career in the 1950s at Fortune Records in Detroit. Some sources believe that Williams is the long-lost brother of Screamin' Jay Hawkins, a blues musician whose song "I Put A Spell On You" landed on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll charts.
An original member of New York's new-school pioneers the Ultramagnetic MC's, "Kool" Keith Thornton is best known as a solo rapper. His signature style is stream-of-consciousness lyrical flow and complex vocals, two skills that earn him a perennial nod from the underground hip-hop community. The average Kool Keith album is peppered with bizarre, disjointed, even delusional or disassociated themes, concepts, and references. Nearly all of his albums incorporate a satirical dislike for more commercialized strains of hip-hop, as well as major record labels.
The Fatback Band (later, simply Fatback) is an American funk and disco band. Most popular in the 1970s and 1980s, The Fatback Band is most known for their Top Ten R&B hits, "(Do The) Spanish Hustle", "I Like Girls", "Gotta Get My Hands on Some (Money)", and "Backstrokin'". Their 1979 single "King Tim III (Personality Jock)" is sometimes considered the first hip hop single.
Shuggie Otis, born 1953, is the son of Johnny Otis, a rhythm and blues musician. He started performing in his youth and released his first record in 1970. He not only writes songs, but also plays guitar, piano, organ, and bass. He has recorded with Frank Zappa, Al Kooper, Etta James, and Eddie Vinson, and more recently Mos Def. The Brothers Johnson's version of his composition "Strawberry Letter 23" reached #1 in the Billboard rhythm and blues chart and #5 in the Billboard pop chart in 1977. Shuggie's albums include: "Here Comes Shuggie Otis", "Freedom Flight" and "Inspiration Information".
Lou Donaldson (born 1926) is a jazz alto saxophonist, born in Badin, North Carolina. He is best known for his soulful, bluesy approach to the alto saxophone, although in his formative years he was, as many were of the bebop era, heavily influenced by Charlie Parker's improvisational approach. His first recordings were with bop emissaries Milt Jackson and Thelonious Monk in 1952, and lead several small groups with other jazz luminaries such as trumpeter Blue Mitchell, pianist Horace Silver and the indomitable skinsman, Art Blakey.
Robert Ashley may be either of two different artists - an American opera writer or an American video-games journalist and podcaster. A) Robert Ashley, a distinguished figure in American contemporary music, holds an international reputation for his work in new forms of opera and multi-disciplinary projects. His recorded works are acknowledged classics of language in a musical setting. He pioneered opera-for-television.