Henry Roeland Byrd, 19 December 1918, Bogalusa, Louisiana, USA, d. 30 January 1980, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. Byrd grew up in New Orleans where he was part of a novelty dance team in the 30s. He also played piano, accompanying John Lee Sonny Boy Williamson. After wartime service, Byrd gained a residency at the Caldonia club, whose owner christened him Professor Longhair. By now, he had developed a piano style that combined rumba and mambo elements with more standard boogie-woogie and barrelhouse rhythms. Particularly through his most ardent disciple, Dr. John, Longhair has become recognized as the most influential New Orleans R&B pianist since Jelly Roll Morton.
In 1949 Longhair made the first record of his most famous tune, Mardi Gras In New Orleans, for the Star Talent label, which credited the artist as Professor Longhair And His Shuffling Hungarians. He next recorded Baldhead for Mercury Records...
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