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“J” is for Jazz

South Carolina A to Z larger logo

“J” is for Jazz. South Carolina has been home to an impressive number of nationally prominent jazz figures as well as the site of high-caliber jazz activities. Although Cheraw native and bebop pioneer Dizzy Gillespie is the best-known and most historically significant jazz musician to have come from the state, many other important performers were either born or spent their formative years in South Carolina. Some were alumni of the world-famous youth bands of Charleston’s Jenkins Orphanage. Among the state’s noted jazz performers were tuba player Pete Briggs, trumpeter Jabo Smith, alto saxophonist Willie Smith, guitarist Freddie Green, drummer Rufus Jones, clarinetist Jimmy Hamilton, and trombonist Ron Westry.

Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.