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Brother John Sellers

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Singer/songwriter Brother John Sellers was known for his folksy mix of blues, jazz, and gospel. Born May 27,1924 in Clarksdale, MS, Sellers performed in gospel tent shows. He grew up watching performances by such blues luminaries as Robert Johnson and Blind Lemon Jefferson. Discovered by gospel great Mahalia Jackson, Mississippi-born Johnson returned with the singer to Chicago. He performed with her as well as blues singer Big Bill Broonzy with whom he did some recording in Europe. He recorded many gospel sides before turning to secular music. In 1954, he recorded the LP Brother John Sellers Sings Blues and Folk Songs for Vanguard Records. Another one of his albums was Let Praise Arise on Birdwing; and Sellers appeared on Ella Jenkins's A Long Time to Freedom. After he returned from the European tour, Sellers became a part of the folk scene in New York's Greenwich Village. While there, he met choreographer Alvin Ailey and began a long collaboration with him, which included such dance pieces as "Revelations" and "Blues Suite." Sellers performed in the Broadway production of Langston Hughes' Tambourines to Glory. He also performed at lectures by Chicago writer Studs Terkel during the late '50s and early 60s. At the age of 74, Brother John Sellers died in Manhattan on March 27, 1999. ~ Ed Hogan

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May 27, 1924 in Clarksdale, MS

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