Personalities | J.B. Lenoir | Fifties | Jazz & Blues

(Guitar, vocals, 1929–67)

J.B. Lenoir was born in Monticello, Mississippi; his parents were farmers as well as musicians. He learned to play the guitar at the age of eight and left home in the early 1940s to work with Rice Miller and Elmore James, before settling in Chicago in 1949 and making his recording debut in 1951 for Chess Records. He worked around Chicago for most of the decade and recorded for a number of different labels. Lenoir toured Europe with the American Folk Blues Festival in 1965. He is best remembered for his original compositions – many of which explored topical themes – and his distinctive, keening falsetto vocals.

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Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel


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