Image of Ollie L. Powers

Ollie L. Powers

(October 11, 1886 – April 14, 1928)

  This is my grandfather, who had an extremely active music career in Chicago between 1912 and 1928. One of the best accounts of his life and career appeared in his obituary article in the Chicago Defender, a paper that specialized in the news and events of Chicago’s black community. Ollie L. Powers was of mixed heritage, which in those days meant that he would have been considered black by most white people, even though he must have appeared rather light to most black people! But his musical talent made all who heard him put aside such issues. In his career, he worked with important jazz musicians such as Jimmie Noone, Louis Armstrong, Earl Hines, Johnny St. Cyr, singers such as May Alix and Florence Mills, and as the partner of the noted songwriter & comedian Shelton Brooks---the duo were billed as “Two Dark Clouds of Joy”! (A story told in our family is that Ollie wore blackface and gloves during the performances, but at the very last moment, just as he was leaving the stage, he would remove his glove and wave at the audience with his bare, light-skinned hand!)

    Scroll down or click here to see the obituary that appeared in the Chicago Defender, April 21, 1928...

7-21-2020:  The original site, which I linked to extensively when I originally wrote these pages, has since been discontinued.  However, all its pages have been archived at, and all the links on this page and in the Bibliographical References have now been repaired.



Click here for an ad in the L. A. Times, March 10, 1918 for Brooks and Powers


new > > >     See a selection of YouTube videos featuring recordings made by Ollie Powers     < < < new

Go to an Ollie Powers page at RedHotJazz.Com

Read a LETTER written by Ollie Powers in 1927

April 21, 1928

Image of obituary text

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