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Gil Roberts

(1886 - 2002)

Born in Amherst, Massachusetts in 1896 Robert Gilbert Roberts started playing the banjo professionally in Buffalo, New York for the local "Blue Ribbon Syncopates" between 1924 and 1928. As his career progressed he would tour Europe with "Eubie Blake's Blackbirds" in the early 1930's and later play with Louis Armstrong's band. By the 1950's Gil was working as the general custodian for the Lord Jeff Club at U-Mass Amherst where his various tasks included shoveling coal into the building's furnace. It was during this period that he became musically active on a professional level once again appearing on record and performing with the "New Black Eagles" and the "Blue Horizon Jazz Band" both featuring soprano saxophonist Stan McDonald. Gil Roberts received an honorary doctorate from U-Mass college for his valued years of service.

Videos:

Blues in A Minor (2:50)

Scratch (3:02)

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