Tag Archives: triangle

Famous jazz musicians from North Carolina

I currently live in Raleigh, North Carolina and would like to pay tribute to the amazing jazz musicians from this and surrounding regions. It may not be an epicentre of jazz like New Orleans, Manhattan, or Los Angeles, indeed none of a recent top 10 southern jazz players were from North Carolina. Nevertheless some notable players are from here.

Jazz musicians with connections to the Research Triangle:

  • Jeb Bishop is a jazz trombonist who grew up in Raleigh and studied at NC State.
  • Pee Wee Moore left medical school to pursue jazz saxophony full time. He was born in Raleigh and returned to the city in the 1970s after living in New York.
  • Billy Strayhorn was a composer, lyricist, and arranger. He spent his summers at his grandparents home in Hillsborough, just northwest of Durham.

Jazz musicians with connections to the Piedmont triad (Greensboro, High Point, Winston-Salem):

Other notable NC jazz musicians:

  • Nina Simone was born in Tryon on the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Widely acclaimed singer, pianist, and songwriter she was also active in the civil rights movement.
  • Percy Heath
  • Theolonius Monk


Music worth dancing to

Swing dancing is a popular activity in North Carolina. Each December the state hosts one of the largest swing dance festivals in the world, Lindy Focus. Barely a weekend goes by without friends in Raleigh telling me they’re spending their evening in some dance hall or other.

Some people dance to recorded music, but often swing dances are places to savor the thrill of a live performance, where musicians and dancers together generate a captivating atmosphere. You can get swing dance lessons, or just turn up to an event. Here are swing dancing opportunities in the area:


Carolina Music and Dance Productions
Triangle Swing and Shag meetups
Central Smooth Groovers meetups
Raleigh Swing Dance Events


Triangle Swing Dance Society and their Facebook group
NCSU Student Dance Club
Dancing in North Carolina
Piedmont Swing Dance Clubs

Some other dance groups

Raleigh-Durham Triangle Dance
Raleigh Dance 4 Fun


Musicians from Raleigh

Raleigh has produced many musicians, from boy wonders to hardcore metal bands. Here I compile a list of local musicians grouped by genre or instrument. I’ve tried to be as inclusive as possible, but note that rock is really what I’m into, and this blogpost is a work in progress.

Bands from Raleigh