Although her 1995 Columbia recording Come on Home was released in a Legendary Pioneers of Jazz series, Valerie Capers is much too obscure and under-recorded to be a legend, and not old enough to be a pioneer. She picked out songs on the piano as a child before losing her sight at the age of six. Her blindness did not stop her from learning to read music in Braille and becoming the first blind graduate from the Juilliard School of Music. AlthoughRead more a classical player at the time, she was attracted to jazz, and was soon working with Mongo Santamaria. In 1965, Capers recorded for Atlantic; 17 years later, she would finally cut her second date (a self-produced effort for the tiny KM Arts label), and it would be another 13 years before her Columbia set. Capers did work with Ray Brown, Slide Hampton, James Moody, Max Roach, and Dizzy Gillespie in the interim, but was mostly employed as a high-level educator. Wagner Takes the "A" Train on Elysium appeared in 1999. Read less
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