Specs Powell

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Gordon "Specs" Powell (June 5, 1922 – September 15, 2007) was a jazz drummer who began performing in the swing era.

Specs was the first black staff musician hired by CBS in 1943. Born in New York City, he started on piano but became exclusively a drummer in the late 1930s. He worked with Edgar Hayes (1939), Benny Carter (1941–42), and Ben Webster. He played percussion on the Ed Sullivan Show in the early 1960s and remained active professionally until the 1970s. In 2004 he was inducted into the Big Band Jazz Hall of Fame.

He died in San Diego of kidney disease at the age of 85.[1]


As leader[edit]

  • Movin' in (Roulette, 1957)
  • Specs Powell Presents Big Band Jazz (Strand, 1961)

As sideman[edit]


  1. ^ "Jazz news: Jazz Drummer Specs Powell Dead of Kidney Disease at 85". 20 September 2007.

External links[edit]