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Specs Powell

RIYL

Ray Copeland, Leon Merian, Jimmy Cleveland, Billie Holiday, Benny Goodman, Coleman Hawkins Aaron Sachs, Sahib Shihab, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Shirley Scott, Stanley Turrentine, Eric Gale

Current Status

Powell died in September 2007 in San Marcos from complications related to kidney disease. He was 85.

Influences

Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday, Benny Goodman, Coleman Hawkins
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Drummer Specs Powell played with some of the biggest names in jazz and was one of the first jazz musicians hired by a national radio network. According to his official bio, he was born Gordon Powell in New York on June 5, 1922, playing piano as well as drums early in his career. But he rose to fame as a drummer during the swing era, when he was a fixture on the active 52nd Street (New York City) jazz scene.

He was hired by CBS in 1943 for its in-house orchestra. Moving from radio to television, he later helped provide music for The Ed Sullivan Show, The Jackie Gleason Show, Candid Camera and other CBS shows. He remained active in jazz during his years with CBS and in 1957 recorded his first and only album as a leader.

Powell worked with Billie Holiday, Benny Goodman, Coleman Hawkins, and many other jazz stars. He was the drummer on a celebrated 1945 recording session, led by Red Norvo, that was among the first to feature the modern-jazz pioneers Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie.

A versatile percussionist who carried a kit filled with castanets, clickers, and other noisemakers, Mr. Powell used a specially designed stand that would allow him to play his bongo drums standing up, instead of slowing down to settle them between his knees.

He stayed with CBS until 1972, then moved to the Virgin Islands. He and his wife, Peggy, later retired to the San Diego area.

-- excerpted from Powell's obituary at www.nytimes.com

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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