June 27, birthday of Elmo Hope: Minor Bertha

Elmo Hope (1923 – 1967) was born in NYC to children of Jamaican immigrants.  He and Bud Powell grew up together.  They both attended Benjamin Franklin High School, played classical music and became enamored of jazz.  At 17, Hope was shot as a bystander by police chasing a mugger (the bullet lodging in his spine) and later charged with the robbery.  The charges were dropped after the police produced no white or black witnesses.  Hope left high school and started playing in jazz halls.  He and Powell became friends with Thelonius Monk.  Like many of his contemporaries, he became addicted to heroin, which helped destroy his health.  His wife claimed that the doctors screwed up the methadone does he was given to kick heroin, and he died of a heart attack in 1967.

He was amazingly innovative as this piece demonstrates, with its 35 bar form.

Another piece from 1980, Prism, sounds like a bit of a retrospective of all musical styles from Baroque to Broadway.

About kurtnemes
Writer and Education Professional. Specialties include Ethics, Personal Memoir, Classical music, Tai Chi, Stress Reduction, Meditation, Coping, Classical Music, Aging, Love, Joy, Compassion and Equanimity (& what interests me.)

8 Responses to June 27, birthday of Elmo Hope: Minor Bertha

  1. darlamsands says:

    What a loss. So young. I hate heroin for all the talents and futures that addiction steals.


  2. kvennarad says:

    I’m behind with your musical posts. I hope to get to each of them this morning.


  3. kvennarad says:

    … and unfortunately the Elmo Hope won’t play here. 😦


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