Described as a Renaissance man cast adrift in a modern world and the first existential jazz rapper.
He studied at the University of Wisconsin-Madison beginning in 1961. He joined Steve Miller and Boz Scaggs as a member of The Ardells while there.
He was born in Chicago, but his family moved to Racine, Wisconsin, where he began playing boogie-woogie piano when he was only six.
He collaborated with many artists as both a musician and a producer, including Van Morrison.