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James Buster Brown: A Biography Of His Life, Times And His Influence On The World Of Tap.

1257 words - 5 pages

James 'Buster' Brown"Tap brings the whole world together because the whole world is rhythmic, when you feel the rhythm and the beat, it's all apart of us." Brian Daffron knew what he was saying when he put the essence of tap into words. It was Buster Brown who truly believed this statement as well. It was his belief that if you could walk, you could dance. No matter what your age, race, or where you came from, you could certainly dance. Buster had a welcoming presence and enthusiastic support for anyone who wanted to express him or herself through dance. There was an optimism and boundless joy that ran all through this quintessential gentleman and he used himself as an embodiment of what every human being should aspire to be. He was a man with no mean words for anyone and there was not a person who could say a mean word about him; he was a role model. Not only was he a fine human being but he was also a multi legend, who was a pioneer and encyclopedia to tap dance.James Richard "Buster" Brown was born in Baltimore, Maryland on May 17, 1913. He was the son of William Brown and Maire Ella Otho-Brown. He never had a tap lesson as times were hard and money was tight, but entertainment and education was something that was encouraged by his parents and community. It was in the streets of Baltimore that he learned to dance and early in the 1920s was when his career began at the annual high school show in Baltimore called "Autumn Follies." In the 1930s, Buster was in his first act show called "The Three Aces", which toured all throughout the United States. His next act was called "The Speed Kings"; it was a trio act that was known for their precision, rapid-fire tap dancing, and their 'flash' steps. Also he toured the United States and Canada with "The Brown Skin Models" and "The Rudy Valle Show". Other works, in which he was featured, was "Beige and Brown" and "The Entertainer".Tap is deeply routed in jazz music and because of this Buster toured with various orchestras and big swing bands including those of Cab Calloway, Count Bassie, Dizzy Gillespie, and Jimmy Lunceford. One of his personal favorite musicians was Duke Ellington, whom he also toured with. He was also a featured tap dancer with the Ellington Organization's production of "David Danced Before The Lord" during the Sacred Concerts Tour in the 1960s. During the 1960s and the 1970s, Buster participated in two very significant tours. One, which toured in Berlin and other European cities during the 1960s, was a Jazz Festival featuring "The Uptown All Star Dancers" who later became "The Hoofers." This group included Dr. Jimmy Slyde, Chuck Green, and Baby Lawrence. The band on this tour included such greats as Papa Jo Jones, Roy Eldridge, Illinois Jaquette, Milt Buckner, and Jimmy Woode. While touring in Africa, Buster presented a command performance for the Ethiopian Emperor, Haile Selassie, and was awarded the Medal of Honor known as 'The Lion of Judea Coin.'Not only did Buster participate in...

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