In Boysie's Horn, social historian, radio host, producer, journalist, and novelist Steven Leech highlights the influence of one of America's greatest jazz educators, Boysie Lowrie, in making African American Wilmington, Delaware a launchpad for national performers like vibraphonist Lem Winchester, trumpeter Clifford Brown, and vocalist Betty Roché. Reaching back to the turn of the twentieth century, Leech traces the social foundation and dynamic personalities who made Wilmington, like New Orleans and Kansas City, a place where Jazz came from. We meet bandleader Sam Wooding, who abandoned his career in pre-World War II Europe for one as a music teacher at Wilmington's Howard High when Clifford Brown was a student there.
Leech also traces the systematic racism and economic forces that undermined Wilmington's cultural vibrance and led to the demise of the numerous jazz venues that had kept Wilmington jumpin' for eight decades.
Jazz fans and researchers will delight in all the artists Leech name checks in this well-indexed record of bands, clubs, musicians, and social movers.
This is a story that has needed to be told for a long time.