Black History Month: Denver Roots & Celebrities
- The roots of Black History Month go back nearly 100 years. It’s a time to recognize the key roles, and contributions, of African Americans throughout U.S. history. This month-long observance grew from an initiative by Carter G. Woodson – a son of slaves – to honor the heritage and achievements of African Americans with a week-long celebration in 1926. Our Colorado community is vibrant today because of the contributions made by our African American neighbors.
- In 1976, President Gerald Ford designated February as Black History Month, urging all Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history!” This is our community, thank you for being part of it!
- Black History Month is about sharing and celebrating the stories of countless men and women who made a difference in our world. For a closer look into the contributions –in our community – visit KUVO.org today.
- In 1963, radio legend, Jim Walker, better known as Dr. Daddio, arrived on the Denver scene by way of Houston, Texas. “I had gone as far as I could go in Houston – in radio, but I always wanted to be a pioneer and open doors in other cities with my talent!” And yes, he did, leading KDKO for 18 years, and he was on KUVO briefly. Dr. Daddio is certainly part of our community! Thank you for joining us for Black History Month!
- Colorado Music Hall of Fame honoree Hazel Miller has a reputation for “bringing it” whether the event is a club setting, concert, festival, or live broadcast performance at the Buell Media Center for KUVO! Hazel Miller and the Collective perform original, jazz, blues, R&B, and popular music. We are celebrating Black History Month – and Hazel – right here in our community!
- For Black History Month, we recognize Ronald Glen Miles, known to us as Ron Miles! He was the Master of the Jazz Cornet and considered one of the finest improvisers, composers, and melodists of his generation. And after moving his family to Denver in 1974, he became of our most beloved jazz educators. He will always be part of our community. Thank you, Ron Miles!
- Born in Detroit and raised in Denver, Colorado, Dianne Reeves has a long list of awards and honors, and films, including the Oscar-nominated Good Night and Good Luck, and Reeves was featured in the documentary “Jazz Town.” The multiple Grammy winner, she was named an NEA Jazz Master in 2018. We are celebrating Black History Month, and are proud to have Dianne Reeves in our community.
- In the 1960s Ed Battle discovered theatre and trained and toured in Jim Mapp’s “Playward Bus Company.” He moved to Denver in the 1970s and performed with numerous companies in Denver, including Bonfils (BON-fees) Theatre, Cleo Parker Robinson, The Eulipions (u-LIP-ee-ons) Ensemble, and Shadow Theatre. He sang for many years with The Horace Henderson Combo, and for more than a decade, Ed was the featured vocalist at the world-famous El Chapultepec in Denver. We honor Ed Battle during Black History Month. Part of our KUVO community!
- Aretha Louise Franklin was an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. Referred to as the “Queen of Soul”, she has twice been placed ninth in Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”. With global sales of over 75 million records, Franklin is one of the world’s best-selling music artists. We are honoring the legacy of Aretha Franklin for Black History Month.
- Herbie Hancock is a true icon of modern music. Throughout his explorations, he has transcended limitations and genres while maintaining his unmistakable voice. Winning 14 Grammy Awards over his five-decade career, he continues to amaze audiences across the globe. We recognize Herbie Hancock during Black History Month!
- It takes a certain kind of man to look at a street corner and have a vision of what should happen there. It takes another kind of man to do the work to bring that vision to pass. Norman Harris is that second kind of man. He’s been “working the vision” for decades. Five Points has been part of his mission, with the Five Points Jazz Festival, First Friday Jazz Hops, and the recent ownership of Spangalang. We are proud to celebrate Norman Harris for Black History Month – and – in our community!
- Rosalind “Bee” Harris has dedicated her career to elevating communities of color by providing a platform for their voices and their stories with the Denver Urban Spectrum magazine, published since 1987 – spreading the news about people of color through informative, entertaining articles. We celebrate Bee Harris for Black History Month. Empowering the people in our community.
- Ken Walker has established his legacy in Denver with his sextet, and through his 30 years of teaching at the University of Denver. He played at El Chapultepec every night for more than a decade and now plays Dazzle on the last Friday of the month. The music is always swinging, often funky, and profound. We are proud to have Ken Walker in our community and proud to honor Ken during Black History Month!
- Soul food is the term for traditional African American cuisine characterized by hearty dishes such as catfish, cornbread, greens, black-eyed peas, and fried chicken. Since the 17th century, Americans grow and eat melons, okra, yams, and some peppers that are indigenous to Africa. Thank you for listening to KUVO during Black History Month!
- Soul music is a popular music genre that originated in the African American community throughout the United States in the late 1950s and early 1960s. It has its roots in gospel, rhythm, and blues. Popular for dancing and listening, Soul music dominated the US R&B charts in the 60s, and recordings from Motown, Stax, Atlantic, and other record labels crossed over into the pop charts worldwide! This is Black History Month – thank you for being part of our community.
- James Joseph Brown, entertainer, record producer, and bandleader, James Brown was THE central progenitor of funk music and a major figure of 20th-century music. He is often referred to as “the Hardest Working Man in Show Business”, “Mr. Dynamite”, “Soul Brother No. 1”, and the “Godfather of Soul”. We are proud to recognize James Brown during Black History Month!
- Regarded as one of the most iconic and influential singers in history and often referred to as “The Genius” – Ray Charles; preferred being called Brother Ray. He combined blues, jazz, rhythm and blues, and gospel styles into his music – and even contributed to country music. For his musical contributions, Charles received the Kennedy Center Honors, the National Medal of Arts, and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award to name a few. We recognize Ray Charles for Black History Month!
- As a LifeForce Jazz Records artist, pianist, percussionist, composer, and arranger, Tenia (teh-NEE-yah) Renee Nelson stays busy as a music educator to all levels of students through private lessons, neighborhood music schools, and master classes. With a busy performance schedule to boot, we are happy to recognize Tenia Nelson for Black History Month!
- Otis Taylor grew up in Denver, and like many musicians in town, Taylor drew inspiration from time spent at the Denver Folklore Center founded by Harry Tuft, where he first heard Piedmont, Delta, country, and Chicago blues artists. His mother loved everything from Etta James to Pat Boone, his father connected him to a lot of jazz, and he was playing banjo before the instrument’s West African roots were widely-known. We recognize Otis Taylor – during Black History Month!
- Maneuvering between genres, and maintaining a genuine authenticity of her own voice, JoFoKe (JOH-FOH-KEY) goes from classical to gospel to jazz through to rock, blues, pop, funk and soul with ease. A multi-genre singer and songwriter, she’s a Denver native – daughter of pianist-band leader Joe Keel. We’re proud to Colorado artist JoFoKe for Black History Month.
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