(born Nov. 16, 1873, Florence, Ala., U.S.—died March 28, 1958, New York, N.Y.) U.S. composer, cornetist, and bandleader known for integrating blues elements into ragtime, changing the course of popular music. Handy worked as a soloist and conductor with several bands around the turn of the century and became active as a music publisher in Memphis (1908) and later New York (1918). Handy's compositions, including “St. Louis Blues,” “Beale Street Blues,” and “Memphis Blues,” became favourites of singers and instrumentalists in the 1920s, helping to codify the blues as a framework within which to improvise.
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