Mr. Q was born in 1913. He is an old hep-cat whose music just makes you have to smile. A self-taught pianist, he has fashioned his own sound by mixing the piano styles of Art Tatum, Earl Hines and Oscar Peterson interspersed with songs by the Ink Spots.
How We Helped:
Since connecting with Music Maker in 1991, Mr. Q has received grants for sustenance, help with obtaining a passport, and assistance with arranging performances in the area and abroad. Music Maker arranged gigs for Mr. Q at Jazz Charlotte in Charlotte, N.C., Artsplosure in Raleigh, N.C., and original Music Maker Revue shows throughout the state. Mr. Q also had the opportunity to play at Blues to Bop in Switzerland, and was featured in the 2004 publication Music Makers: Portraits and Songs from the Roots of America. In addition, Music Maker has helped Mr. Q record his CD Cocktail Boogie, as well as tracks on several compilation records.
He graduated from North Carolina A&T in the 1930s. He started his career when he left school to travel with Blanche Calloway’s Orchestra as a singer. They performed as far away as Mexico, traveling back through Texas he took off on his own and hustled a job as a singer in a local saloon. Returning home six months later his parents were upset. Mr. Q appeased them by giving his mother $500 he earned in tips, all in change. He soon migrated to Harlem, and got a job, playing harmonica with the Savoy Sultans, the house band at the Savoy ballroom. He sang at tables at local. He went to all night jam sessions where he witnessed the legends of the day perform such as Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum and Teddy Wilson. Mr. Q returned to Winston-Salem in 1963 and became a fixture performing at piano bars.