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J. Russell Robinson

J. Russell Robinson (1892 - 1963) was a United States ragtime and jazz pianist and a composer of popular tunes.

Robinson was born in Indianapolis, Indiana on July 8, 1892. He started publishing ragtime compositions in his teens; his early hits included Sapho Rag and Eccentric. With his drummer brother (name?) he toured the American South in the early 1910s, including an extended stay in New Orleans. He was known for his heavily blues and jazz influenced playing style; advertisements billed him (in the somewhat racist language of the time) as "The White Boy with the Colored Fingers".

In 1919 Robinson joined the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. He then went to work with W.C. Handy's publishing company, supplying new arrangements and lyrics for popular editions of tunes like "Memphis Blues" and "Ole Miss" in the 1920s. He also played piano with verious popular and blues singers in phonograph recording sessions, accompanying singers such as Annette Hanshaw[?], Lucile Hegamin[?], Marion Harris[?], and Lizzy Miles. On some of his acompanyments to African American singers the acompanyment was listed on the record lables as being by Spencer Williams (with Williams permission).

His popular compositions include Palesteena and Margie.

Robinson died in Palmdale, California on September 30, 1963.



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