Historic, but not famous

Charles Sibirsky, teacher, jazz musician

Charles Sibirsky has been a Jazz pianist in the New York City area for over 30 years. He has performed at every jazz venue in NYC. He was just 17 when he started his musical career, playing with trios and quartets in the Catskill Mountains. He majored in music at Brooklyn College and began his teaching career at Academy Music Studios in Brooklyn. While teaching he met legendary pianist Sal Mosca and studied with him for over 2 decades.

Mr. Sibirsky is a performer and composer. In Brooklyn he founded  and serves as the director of Slope Music where he continues to teach jazz. Many of Charles’ students have gone on to establish music careers. He has also recorded, sometimes with former students.

Slope music is in a building known as the Blue House, built in 1850, before brownstones, before Prospect Park, before the Brooklyn Bridge.

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Historic, but not famous

Jennie Jerome, mother of Winston Churchill

By (Original text : The Lafayette studio) - [1]) Source is V&A Lafayette Archive. Archive link, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3893900Jennie Spencer-Churchill (née Jerome; 9 January 1854 – 29 June 1921), known as Lady Randolph Churchill, was an American-born British socialite, the wife of Lord Randolph Churchill and the mother of British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill. Ms. Jerome was born in Cobble Hill Brooklyn in 1854. A plaque at 426 Henry St. gives her year of birth as 1850, not 1854. However, on 9 January 1854, the Jeromes lived nearby at number 8 Amity Street (since renumbered as 197).The Jeromes were temporarily staying at the Henry Street address, owned by her uncle Addison. It is believed she was born there during a snowstorm.

She spent time in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Paris as a child. She studied piano and was considered quite good, but married at the age of 20 to Lord Randolph Churchill, getting engaged 3 days after their initial meeting. Winston Churchill, her first son was born less than a year after the marriage. She also had another son. She was rarely with Winston as most children of the aristocracy were raised by nannies and sent to boarding schools, but they did become friends during his adulthood. She was a generous and influential member of his inner circle and the British upper class.

Lady Churchill was widowed at the age of 41 and remarried twice. She died at the age of 61 after suffering a fall which caused gangrene to set in to her leg. This caused an amputation which eventually led to a hemorage and her death.

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Historic, but not famous

Elmo Hope was born on June 27, 1923, in New York City. His parents were immigrants from the Caribbean and had several children. Elmo began playing the piano aged seven.

He had classical music lessons as a child, and won solo piano recital contests from 1938. Fellow pianist Bud Powell was a childhood friend; together, they played and listened to jazz and classical music. Hope attended Benjamin Franklin High School, which was known for its music program. He developed an excellent understanding of harmony, and composed jazz and classical pieces at school.

At the age of 17, Hope was shot by a New York policeman and doctors reported that the bullet had narrowly missed his spine. Six weeks later, after Hope had been released from the hospital, he appeared in court. The judge freed Hope of all the charges, after which Hope’s attorney described the shooting as an “outrage”, and the charges as “an attempted frameup”. Hope’s recovery was slow, and he did not go back to school. Instead, he played the piano in an assortment of dance halls and other establishments in the city.

Hope and Powell met fellow pianist Thelonious Monk in 1942, and the three spent a lot of time together. This was interrupted in March 1943, when Hope enlisted as a private in the U.S. Army.

After leaving the Army, Hope played in many bands and eventually started playing Jazz as part of a quintet led by trumpeter Clifford Brown and alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson. He worked with Blue Note records and had his own jazz trio for recording. He appeared on recordings with Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane and Donald Byrd among others.

Unfortunately, he developed a drug problem and ended up in prison. He was unable to play in New York City clubs after his release from prison and began touring with Chet Baker and moved to Los Angeles. He began recording with many jazz musicians in LA, but came back to NYC in the early 1960s. He performed regularly until his death in 1967 in New York City from pneumonia.  Hope, Bud Powell, and Thelonius Monk were considered by their contemporaries to be influences on each other early in their careers, and all, therefore, helped affect the development of jazz piano. He released 15 albums as a frontman and almost as many as a sideman through his career.

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