Specs Powell

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Gordon "Specs" Powell (June 5, 1922 – September 15, 2007) was a jazz drummer and percussionist who began in the swing era. He also worked in the Bebop and Hard bop idioms.

Specs was the First Black staff musician hired by CBS in 1943. Born in New York City, a proud Trinidadian, he started out on piano but became exclusively a drummer in the late 1930s. He worked with Edgar Hayes (1939), Benny Carter (1941–42), Ben Webster, and others early in his career.

Powell went on to play percussions on The Ed Sullivan Show in the early 1960s. His sole album as a leader, Movin' In (Roulette) was in 1957. He remained active professionally until the 1970s and was honored by the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame in 2004.


As leader[edit]

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

As sideman[edit]

With Billy Butler

With Erroll Garner

  • Erroll Garner Trio (Columbia, 1956)

With Coleman Hawkins

  • Rainbow Mist (Delmark, 1944 [1992]) compilation of Apollo recordings

With Red Norvo

  • Town Hall Concert (Commodore, 1945)

With Bernard Purdie

With Shirley Scott

With Jess Stacy

  • Jess Stacy and Friends (Commodore, 1944)

With Joe Thomas

With Teddy Wilson

With Reuben Wilson

External links[edit]