Personalities | Champion Jack Dupree | Forties | Jazz & Blues

(Piano, vocals, 1910–92)

William Thomas Dupree was born in New Orleans. He was raised in the Colored Waifs Home for Boys from infancy. He learned piano at an early age and in the 1920s worked barrelhouses as a soloist, as well as playing with traditional jazz bands. From the early 1930s, he worked as a prizefighter and took occasional music jobs. Dupree was discovered in Chicago and signed to OKeh records in 1940. Among those early sides were the first recordings of ‘Junker’s Blues’ and ‘Cabbage Greens’.

After US Navy service, Dupree settled in New York and recorded for several small labels, including Joe Davis, Continental and Apollo, often in the company of Brownie McGhee. He became known for his strong, two-fisted piano and for his humorous songs and vocals. Dupree settled in Switzerland in 1960 and became one of the most visible blues artists in Europe over the next 30 years.

Styles & Forms | Forties | Jazz & Blues
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Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel


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