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From the Archives: Chu Berry - Jazz Appreciation Month

Posted: April 21, 2022, 12:24PM

From the Archives: Chu Berry

Celebrating Jazz Appreciation Month

April is Jazz Appreciation Month, along with National Poetry Month! In conjunction, the Ohio County Public Library is proud to recognize Wheeling native and world renowed tenor saxophone player  - Leon "Chu" Berry.

Leon "Chu" Berry was born in Wheeling, WV on September 13, 1908 to Leon Berry and Maggie Glasgow Berry. In Wheeling, he attended Lincoln High School before attending West Virginia State College, near Charleston.

Although his music career was tragically cut short, Chu Berry achived tremendous acomplishments during his lifetime. Berry would record sessions for famed record producer and talent scout John Hammond, who he credited much of his success. His recording credits would include work with Bessie Smith, Lionel Hampton and most notably Cab Calloway. In 1941, while touring with the Cab Calloway Orchestra, Berry was killed in an automobile accident at the age of thirty-one.  Calloway, who attended Berry's funeral in Wheeling, said Berry would always be a member of his band.

The Feist All-Star Series of Modern Rhythm songbook in the Ohio County Public Library Archives collection was copywrited in 1939 by the Leo Feist, Inc. company of New York, New York. The booklet, copywrited only a few years Publishers Notes from The Bookprior to Berry's untimely death, contains Berry's B flat tenor saxophone arrangements of Sleepy Time Gal, My Blue Heaven, Swingin' Down The Line, In A Little Spanish Town, The Darktown Strutters Ball, Linger Awhile, At Sundown, China Boy, Sunday and Ja-Da. 

Renowned musicians today, such as Branford Marsalis, site "Chu" as among their prominent musical ancestors. As we celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month, we recognize the contributions of Wheeling native Leon "Chu" Berry to the continued development of jazz music.


Discover More About Chu Berry and Jazz at the Links Below

Imagine What You Will Discover About Jazz at YOUR OCPL -



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