George Braithwaite, 27 June 1939, New York City, New York, USA. His mother sang in the church where his father was the minister and also played piano and organ. Encouraged by his father, who taught all his nine children rudimentary piano skills, Braith turned to reed instruments as his means of musical expression. At the age of 10 he formed his own small calypso band, thus reflecting his parents West Indian heritage, which he led in amateur-talent contests at theatres and on television. While attending junior high school, Braith studied clarinet and baritone and alto saxophones. At the age of 13, by now playing jazz, he played with a juvenile group, the Dickens LaRoca Big Band, which played opposite Buddy Tate at the Savoy Ballroom and opposite Tito Puente at the Palladium. This led to early induction into the Musicians Union. Two years later, Braith led his by now jazz-influenced band at a Catskills resort where he had a summer job. There, Braiths...
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