Jazz artist whose From Spirituals to Swing Carnegie Hall concert with Big Joe Turner in 1938 set off the boogie-woogie craze.
He began as a drummer, but he switched to piano around age 18, eventually forming a lengthy collaboration with Big Joe Turner, with whom he wrote Roll 'Em Pete in 1938, one of the first rock and roll records in history.
He was noticed by legendary record producer John Hammond in 1936, who opened many doors for him including a gig at the Famous Door in New York.
His family was residing in Kansas City, Missouri, when he was born.
His Rocket 88 Boogie from 1948 inspired Rocket 88, Ike Turner's 1951 hit.